DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Mario Andretti, one of only two drivers to win both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, has been named Honorary Chairman for the 30th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) Induction Ceremony Presented by Bridgestone, set for March 13 at the Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach.
Andretti, a 1990 MSHFA inductee, shares the Daytona-Indianapolis honor with A.J. Foyt. Andretti is the only driver to win those two marquee events (Daytona in 1967, Indy in 1969) and the Formula One world championship (1978). Fittingly, Andretti was named Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and RACER magazine in 2000.
It’s also fitting that Andretti serve as Honorary Chairman for this year’s induction ceremony, as two inductees come from the world of IndyCar racing – the late Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher and former champion car owner Pat Patrick. In addition, another former Daytona 500 champion, Jeff Gordon, will be inducted.
The other honorees: drag racing car builder John Buttera; record-setting pilot – and world-famous billionaire – Howard Hughes; motorcycle great Fred Merkel; and sports car legend Bob Tullius.
This year marks the second straight year a former Daytona 500 champion will serve as Honorary Chairman. Last year, 2017 champion Kurt Busch filled that role. The MSHFA moved to Daytona International Speedway two years ago, from Novi, Michigan.
“Anytime Mario Andretti returns to Daytona, it’s magical,” said MSHFA President Ron Watson. “This will also add a bit of magic to our induction ceremony. Mario has always been supportive of our efforts and of course, we have always been extremely grateful.”
“I’m delighted to be invited and when I got the invitation, I figured, ‘Good, Ron has finally given me a job,’ ’’ Andretti said. “But this is a good opportunity for me to come and see what I call ‘The Temple.’
“The hall of fame is so important because of what it represents. To me, it’s the ultimate award or reward that any driver could hope for in their career. I’ve had first-hand experience with that and also with my son Michael inducted [in 2008]. I know how much that means to us and to be part of an evening like that … I look forward to that very much.”
The induction ceremony will be preceded on March 12 by the annual “Heroes of Horsepower” Reception and Dinner at the MSHFA Museum, located in the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours facility.
Tickets for all 30th annual MSHFA induction activities can be purchased by calling 386.681.6843 or visiting the MSHFA website at www.mshf.com