Without there being much motorsports happening this weekend, it has been a terrible weekend for racing. IndyCar fans are in mourning today as team owner and 500 legend Andy Granatelli has passed away. He was 90.
While he wasn't a driver, Granatelli was the CEO of the STP oil company and was on the forefront of some of the most revolutionary IndyCars of all time. In the late 1960s, Indy's red STP-sponsored turbine cars were Granatelli's babies. No, Silent Sam and the Lotus 56 didn't win the races, but they came damn close. In fact, Silent Sam nearly won the race in 1967 until a $6 piece failed with just laps to go.
Grantelli scored race wins as a team owner with Mario Andretti in 1969 and as a sponsor with Gordon Johncock in 1973 and 1982, the former coming after Andretti's all-wheel drive Lotus broke before the race and he had to run an older Hawk Ford. It was Mario's only triumph at the 500 and Granatelli's fat kiss that he planted on Andretti after the win is one of the most famous kisses in motorsports.
His innovative spirit and obvious passion for Indy earned him the nickname "Mr. 500." Long after he stopped competing he'd return to Indy, as many former owners and drivers do, to revel in the celebration that is the Month of May.
As the CEO of STP, Granatelli was also the man who started STP's long collaboration with The King, Richard Petty. At 30 years, it was the longest sponsorship in NASCAR history. It also produced one of our new favorite motorsports pictures:
Mr. 500 died of congestive heart failure. He was 90 years old.