Mario Andretti to Receive Publisher’s Award at Italian Tribune Gala (SET ON 2 LINES)
Buddy Fortunato, Publisher of the Italian Tribune is pleased to announce that Mario Andretti will be receive the Publisher’s Award at the 49th Annual Columbus Day Awards Gala on Friday, October 11, 2019 at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany, New Jersey. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Mario’s historic victory in the Indianapolis 500. Please join us at the dinner as we honor one of the most celebrated drivers in the history of motorsports.
Mario Andretti was born in Montona, Istria, then part of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1955, the Andretti family emigrated to the U.S., settling in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Mario began racing (and winning) just after high school and continued in the sport for the better part of the next four decades, becoming one of the most successful Americans in the history of the motorsport. He is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR (the other being his friend, the late Dan Gurney). Mario also won races in midget cars and sprint cars.
Mario’s win at the Indianapolis 500 is only one of the many highlights of a career that included the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles and the International Race of Champions Series. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship. Mario had 109 career wins on major circuits and is the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades. He is one of only three drivers to have won major races on road courses, paved ovals and dirt tracks in one season, but it is a feat that he accomplished four times. He is the first driver to have won IndyCar races in four different decades and the first to win automobile races of any kind in five decades.
Mario is also the patriarch of a racing dynasty. Both of his sons, Michael and Jeff, became racers. Michael followed in his father’s footsteps by winning the IndyCar title. Mario’s grandson Marco joined the Indy Racing League (IRL) in 2006, driving for his father Michael’s team, finishing second in the Indianapolis 500 that year. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, as had his grandfather and father before him.
Mario has received countless awards during his remarkable career and is a Hall of Fame member in virtually every prominent place devoted to motorsports. In 2006, Mario was awarded the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Italian government, the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (known as the Commendatore), in honor of his racing career, public service and enduring commitment to his Italian heritage. Enzo Ferrari is the only other recipient of the Commendatore from the world of automobile racing.
In 2007, Mario was honored with the “Lombardi Award of Excellence” from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation. In 2008, he was awarded with the Simeone Foundation Spirit of Competition Award. Since 2012, Mario has been the ambassador for the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and the United States Grand Prix. To summarize, not only a racing icon, Mario Andretti is considered by many to be the greatest race car driver in the history of the sport and the Italian Tribune is honored to present him with the 2019 Publisher’s Award.