The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Phoenix Raceway will commemorate the 25th anniversary of legendary driver Mario Andretti’s final Indy car victory, nearly 25 years to the day it happened.
Andretti, whose 52 career wins rank second only to AJ Foyt’s 67 in Indy car annals, drove to the checkered flag at Phoenix Raceway on April 4, 1993. A full schedule of events surrounding the Phoenix Grand Prix on April 6-7, 2018, will honor Andretti’s achievement and the track’s deep Indy car history. The weekend culminates with the April 7 race under the lights featuring the current stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series and the cars with the highly anticipated new universal aero kit.
“There’s no more important name in motor sports than Mario Andretti,” said Bryan Sperber, president of Phoenix Raceway, the 1.022-mile oval that has hosted 63 previous Indy car races dating to 1964. “He is also a cultural icon and his name resonates around the world with fans and non-fans alike.”
“To be in a position to host the anniversary celebration of his final open-wheel victory at Phoenix Raceway is truly special. I can’t wait to welcome back the drivers and race cars that created history here 25 years ago,” Sperber added.
Driving the No. 6 Kmart/Texaco Havoline Lola/Ford, Andretti led 39 of 200 laps in the 1993 Valvoline 200 at Phoenix. He won by a lap over Raul Boesel in a race that featured eight eventual Indianapolis 500 winners – Andretti, Eddie Cheever, Emerson Fittipaldi, Buddy Lazier, Arie Luyendyk, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Jr. – as well as the likes of Jimmy Vasser, Lyn St. James, Robby Gordon and Teo Fabi. Nigel Mansell, the reigning Formula One champion who had become Andretti’s teammate that season at Newman/Haas Racing, was injured in a practice crash and did not race.
The win made Andretti the oldest Indy car winner on a traditional race course, at 53 years, one month and seven days. The oldest winner on any type circuit was Louis Unser in the 1953 Pikes Peak Hill Climb when it was part of the AAA-sanctioned national championship. Unser was 57 years, five months and 22 days old at the time.
Andretti’s hall of fame career in Indy cars spanned 31 years (1964-94). He holds the record for most races (407), laps led (7,595), podium finishes (144) and pole positions (67). He is the first driver to win an Indy car race in four consecutive decades and collected four season championships. The legendary driver excelled in all forms of motor sports, winning the Formula One world championship in 1978, collecting sports car wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring, as well as winning NASCAR’s pinnacle event, the Daytona 500, in 1967.
Phoenix Raceway will celebrate Andretti’s remarkable accomplishments on race weekend through special merchandise, trading cards, a tribute panel and special commemorative items for fans. Among the plans is a reunion of drivers who participated in the 1993 Indy car race. Fans attending will be able interact with legends of the sport such as Rahal, St. James and Luyendyk in a panel discussion and autograph session. In addition, cars from the 1993 Indy car field will be on display at the track for fans to enjoy.
The Phoenix Grand Prix is the second race on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.