Mario Andretti honored by RRDC in Long Beach
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Company press release.

Mario Andretti honored by RRDC in Long Beach  LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2014) - In front of a capacity crowd of auto racing dignitaries, sanctioning group and series' representatives, corporate executives and champion race-car drivers, Mario Andretti was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the 'RRDC Evening with Mario Andretti presented by Firestone' prior to the running of the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

It was the RRDC's sixth consecutive annual banquet honoring auto racing's most influential leaders. Previous honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall and Brian Redman. Gurney, Jones and Penske were in the audience, as well as no less than 12 Indy 500 winners, which included Andretti, Jones and RRDC president Bobby Rahal, as well as Scott Dixon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, and Helio Castroneves.

Opening the evening was a dazzling video tribute to Andretti written and narrated by RRDC member Sam Posey.

Rahal recognized event sponsors Firestone, Honda and TUDOR and interrogated Andretti on his legendary achievements in the style of 'Late Night with David Letterman.' Andretti's identical twin brother Aldo, a former USAC racer, also joined his brother on the 'couch' during the Q&A session.

Mario Andretti honored by RRDC in Long Beach  

The dinner's proceeds will help support the RRDC's young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com program, of which Franchitti was named the ambassador, and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.

'This is the 62nd anniversary of the RRDC,' said Rahal of the organization that was formed in 1952 to help mentor young race-car drivers. 'We have been so blessed to have honored Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman and, this year, Mario Andretti. He was named by the Associated Press as 'the driver of the century.' That's pretty heavy. We are really pleased to have Mario here with us.

'He's the winner of four Long Beach Grand Prix. The first one was the Formula 1 race in '77. I was here. I watched that race. I was in Formula Atlantic at the time and there was a hell of a fight between Mario, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter,' recalled Rahal. 'The Long Beach Grand Prix needed Mario to win the race and Mario delivered.'

That historic moment at the 1977 LBGP was depicted in a stunning 25-foot-wide print from artist Randy Owens which served as the stage backdrop.

'And of course, much to my consternation, he won three indy Car races here in '84, '85 and '87,' continued Rahal, a successful Indy Car team owner and driver. 'I never forgot that in '85 I qualified on the front row with Mario and I hit the wall in the third corner on the first lap. And, that was it.

'Fittingly, Mario is the Grand Marshal for this weekend's race. Thanks to Mario for being here. Thank you all for being here.'

'When I arrived at the cocktail party and saw all the familiar faces I hadn't seen for so many years, I said this is really special,' said Andretti. 'I can see why this event has been the event of the year.

'i want to thank the sponsors Firestone, Honda, TUDOR and others that are involved. I owe a lot of gratitude to them because this is what is going to give life to this event for years to come. And we all know that as we love the sport we need to have systems in place to give opportunities to the young lads,' he added, referring to the success of RRDC's SAFEisFAST program and the Team USA Scholarship. 'I get mail every other day from either parents or young kids who are aspiring to be racers. And these are vehicles that can give them a direction and could help create some financial help, which is all so badly needed at times. We're all working for this main purpose.

'I feel so honored to have been invited to this. It was a long time coming and everyone has been telling me just how great this event is. Thank you so, so much.'

About the RRDC:

The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club's membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

In 2011, the RRDC launched a free on-line training seminar – www.SAFEisFAST.com – featuring more than 30 RRDC members and other industry experts in high-quality videos covering subjects from physical and mental preparation to driving techniques, driver safety to car setup and sponsorship. The videos are updated regularly. Each week, a professional from the world of motor racing answers readers' questions on the site in a feature called 'Ask a Pro.'

Bobby Rahal is President, John Fergus is Vice President/Treasurer, and Tom Davey is Secretary.

The RRDC presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award, the Mark Donohue Award, and the Bob Akin Award, and supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at www.rrdc.org.

Photo credit: Dennis Ashlock

posted on conceptcarz.com

   Recent Articles
Motor Sport Legends From All Over The World Prepare For This Weekend's ROC Miami

◾Miami's Marlins Park was swarming with legends of motor sport today ahead of this weekend's ROC Miami
◾Champions from series including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, Rally X and Touring Cars put in their first practice laps of ROC's all-new track
◾NASCAR champion Kurt Busch says: 'This stadium racing is something we rarely see in the USA, with the spectators this close to the action.'
◾His brother Kyle Busch, who will partner him in Sunday's ROC Nations Cup, adds: 'We'll either kill ea....
Gurney's Eagles Land At The Petersen Museum

Starting Saturday, January 28th, 2017, the Petersen Automotive Museum will host an unprecedented collection of Dan Gurney/AAR Eagle race cars and memorabilia including, the 1967 Gurney Eagle Weslake, the 1999 Gurney Eagle Indy car and the famous Moet Champagne Bottle sprayed by Gurney after winning the 1967 Le Mans race.

Los Angeles, Calif. (January, 2017) - The Petersen Automotive Museum will unveil its newest exhibition of racing cars, titled 'The Eagles Have Landed: Dan Gurney's All....
Kyle Busch And Travis Pastrana Enjoy First Runs On Brand New Track Ahead Of This Weekend's ROC Miami

◾The Race Of Champions will celebrate its first appearance on American soil with a brand new track concept this weekend: a figure-of-eight circuit with two loops winding their way around the inside of Miami's Marlins Park
◾The new track was finished overnight ahead of visits by NASCAR champion Kyle Busch and action sports legend Travis Pastrana earlier today
◾This weekend's ROC Miami field also features F1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch plus five....
Neil Verhagen, 15, Earns RRDC Mark Donohue Award at SCCA National Runoffs

It was announced today that Neil Verhagen was named to the 2017 Red Bull Junior Program and will drive in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup series on the MP Motorsport team. http://www.redbulljuniorteam.com/article/red-bull-junior-team-announcement-2017, http://www.redbulljuniorteam.com/athlete/neil-verhagen

HILLIARD, Ohio (Jan. 18, 2017) - Neil Verhagen, a 15-year-old high school student from Mooresville, N.C., was named the 46th recipient of the RRDC Mark Donohue Award. This uni....
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition  2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition  2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition  2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition  2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition  
2017 Honda Accord
2017 Honda Accord  2017 Honda Accord  2017 Honda Accord  2017 Honda Accord  2017 Honda Accord  
2016 BMW B7 Bi-Turbo
2016 BMW B7 Bi-Turbo  2016 BMW B7 Bi-Turbo  2016 BMW B7 Bi-Turbo  2016 BMW B7 Bi-Turbo  
2016 Chevrolet Corvette
2016 Chevrolet Corvette  2016 Chevrolet Corvette  2016 Chevrolet Corvette  2016 Chevrolet Corvette  2016 Chevrolet Corvette  
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  
2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept
2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept  2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept  2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept  2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept  2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid Concept  
2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car
2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car  2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car  2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car  2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car  2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car  
2015 BMW X5 M
2015 BMW X5 M  2015 BMW X5 M  2015 BMW X5 M  2015 BMW X5 M  2015 BMW X5 M  
2015 BMW X6 M
2015 BMW X6 M  2015 BMW X6 M  2015 BMW X6 M  2015 BMW X6 M  2015 BMW X6 M  
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car  2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car  2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car  2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car  2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car