Andy Granatelli, former CEO of STP and longtime fixture in IndyCar racing has passed away at the age of 90 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Granatelli was a huge fixure in IndyCar racing on the track. He was always thinking ahead when it came to car design and always believed in himself. He unloaded cars like the Novi and the revolutionary turbine powered car in 1967 with Parnelli Jones at the wheel for the Indianapolis 500.
Bobby Unser spoke to RACER’s Robin Miller on Granatelli:
“Andy didn’t look through the same set of eyes that everyone else did, he always looked at things differently,” said the three-time Indy winner. “He was always thinking outside the box and when we were all looking at next year, Andy was looking 10 years down the road.”
Jones spoke to RACER’s Robin Miller on the turbine:
“I tested it at Phoenix and it had some potential and then Andy started calling me about driving it at the Speedway,” recalls the 1963 Indy victor. “I asked for $100,000 and he accepted it but I really didn’t think it would be as good as it turned out. I mean I knew I’d make the race in that car but I didn’t know how I’d do in the race.”
Jones qualified the turbine in 6th and it dominated the race, but broke with just a handful of laps remaining.
That heartbreak would be redeemed in 1969, when Mario Andretti recovered from destroying the teams primary car in practice to win the Indianapolis 500. Granatelli kissed Andretti in victory lane, which is one of the most iconic images in the history of the 500.
Granatelli went to win the 1973 Indianapolis 500 partnered with Pat Patrick and with Gordon Johncock behind the wheel, which was a bittersweet win as teammate Swede Savage was involved in a violent crash and died around a month an a half later.
Granatelli was also the CEO of STP oil products, which became an iconic sponsor in both IndyCar racing and especially in NASCAR, sponsoring the “King” Richard Petty.
Granatelli also served as a racing promoter during World War II.
Thoughts are with the Granatelli family during this difficult time.