Montecito resident and well-known race car mogul Andy Granatelli died Sunday at age 90 from congestive heart failure, the Los Angeles Times reported. Granatelli — whose legacy will live on in the multiple engineering and motorsport halls of fame he was entered into — drove in a qualifying round in the Indianapolis 500 in 1948, but crashed and suffered broken shoulders and lost teeth. He would go on to become the president and CEO of STP, a motor oil company whose sales he helped increase dramatically. He sponsored cars that won the Indy 500, and his career also included a time spent serving as the vice chairman of NASCAR.
J. Douglas Boles, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, released a statement on Granateli’s passing. “Andy Granatelli — appropriately known to many of us as ‘Mister 500’ — understood better than anyone the spirit and challenge of the Indianapolis 500 and had a remarkable ability to combine innovative technologies with talented race car drivers to make his cars a threat to win at Indianapolis every year,” Boles said. “Andy leaves a legacy of historic moments that will live forever in Indianapolis 500 lore, including his famous turbine that dominated the 1967 Indianapolis 500, the Lotus 56 of 1968, and giving the great Mario Andretti a kiss on the cheek in victory lane after his 1969 win. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family, friends, and legion of fans.”
Retired for nearly 30 years, Granatelli immersed himself in Santa Barbara causes, including serving as the chair of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Council. Granatelli, a Dallas native, is survived by his wife, two sons, and three grandchildren.