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Mario Andretti is best known as one of car racing's most successful drivers.
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He captured NASCAR's Daytona 500 in 1967, then a year later, ventured into Formula One territory, taking hold of the pole position in his very first race.
In the late 1960s nobody was a better a Indy car racer than Mario Andretti. After two-straight second-place Indy car championship finishes in 1967 and 1968, Andretti earned top honors in 1969 with nine total victories.
In the mid-1970s,
Andretti focused a lot of his attention on Formula One racing. The pinnacle of this period came in 1978, when he became just the second American (Phil Hill was the first, in 1961) to win that sport's world championship.
Over the course of the final decade of his career, Mario Andretti was still a force in the world of car racing. In 1984, just two years after returning to Indy car racing, he won the championship, his fourth Indy title. Just seven years later, he nearly captured a fifth, narrowly losing out to his son, Michael.
It was a disappointment Andretti was more than welcome to accept. But others during his career have been harder to swallow. The most famous of those came in 1981, when a Bobby Unser victory at the Indianapolis 500 was overturned after Unser was accused of passing cars illegally while a yellow caution flag was in place. Andretti, who finished second, got the win, then lost it when an appeal board called the Unser punishment excessive and gave him back the title.
In 1994, after more than $11 million in winnings, Mario Andretti retired from Indy car racing. In the ensuing years he's been inducted into multiple halls of fame and was named "Driver of the Century" by The Associated Press and RACER magazine.
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