Marco Andretti will pay tribute to his famous grandfather’s Indianapolis 500 win 50 years ago with the car livery he’s set to drive in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge next month.
The Andretti family – Marco, father and team owner Michael and grandfather Mario – unveiled the car to a national audience Thursday morning in New York on “TODAY,” which airs on the same NBC network that is airing “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the first time on Sunday, May 26.
The day-glow red No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda closely resembles the 1969 race-winning livery of Mario Andretti’s Brawner Hawk/Ford, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his memorable Indianapolis 500 victory.
“I’m really happy we were able to pull this off. It’s a really cool way to honor Mario’s 50th anniversary,” said Marco Andretti, who became an ownership partner this year in the Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajanian entry. “The color will be hard to miss on track and the car looks great. We’re all very thankful that U.S. Concrete was on board to run the livery and make this year’s car as special as possible. We can’t wait to have a shot at bringing this car to victory lane on May 26.”
The retro paint scheme highlights Dallas-based U.S. Concrete as the primary sponsor and features the black number block to identify the car number, similar to the No. 2 on Mario’s 1969 car, along with the historic Firestone logo. In addition, the initials “FB” have been placed near the front suspension as they were on the original 1969 livery, representing Frank Boeninghaus, who provided the engine for Mario Andretti’s victory, when he led 116 of 200 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and crossed the finish line 113 seconds ahead of second-place Dan Gurney.
“I was full of pride when I learned that my son Michael was paying tribute to me this way,” said Mario Andretti, whose 1969 Indy 500 triumph was one of 52 career wins that ranks second on the all-time list. “The effort his team is going through to present this commemorative car is flattering. Thank you to the team for that effort and also for acknowledging my part in Indy 500 history.
“I am honored to have Marco carry the design from my 1969 car,” Mario added. “I hope this winning paint scheme will be a good omen for him and that he’ll get his first 500 victory. When I see the car, it will definitely be an opportunity for reflection. It’s humbling. It is a tremendous compliment to me that this team would look back at my victory and find it worthy of recognition."
The No. 98 throwback car will first see its first track time at an open test on the IMS 2.5-mile oval on Wednesday, April 24..
“Marco Andretti is not only a great ambassador for Indy car racing but for our safety and hiring initiatives as well. His excitement to honor his grandfather continues to show how dedicated he is to honoring his family’s legacy,” said Bill Sandbrook, U.S. Concrete chairman and CEO. “We knew that partnering with the Andretti Autosport team was the best vehicle for us to successfully deliver our sponsorship objectives, and this tribute is a shining example of what the entire Andretti family means to auto racing.”
Official practice for the 200-lap race begins Tuesday, May 14, with qualifying May 18 and 19 to determine the 33-car starting field. INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN and NBC will carry all of the on-track action, with live race coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, May 26. Tickets for month of May activities are available at IMS.com.