Friday, September 12, 2008

Brothers in Arms (Part 2)

Continuing on with our Trivia question of the week... Where I asked Y’all how many brothers have race in the top echelon of Open Wheel motorsports, i.e.; Formula 1, USAC, CART/Champ Car and the IRL...

And just how many of the 4 Formula 1 World Champions, seven USAC/CART Champions and six Indy 500 Winners did you name?

Anyways, here goes the second half of our impromptu virtual ballgame...

Open Wheel Racing*
(* = Driver’s to contest F1/USAC/CART/Champ Car/IRL)

Andretti; Aldo and Mario
Well, how many of you have ever heard of Mario’s less exalted brother Aldo?

While I knew about Aldo, I was unaware of the fact that they’re twin brothers and as we all know, Aldo’s brother, “Super Mario” is without doubt one of Open Wheel’s greatest ever! Along with holding the dubious distinction of being the only man to be kissed in victory lane by his team owner upon winning the Indy 500! (1969) Mario also claimed four Open Wheel titles; Three USAC (1965-66, ’69) and one CART (1984) Championship crowns along with being the oldest driver to win in Champ Car, being 53yrs old when he scored his last victory in 1993 before retiring in 1994.

Mario invented the word cool, with his attitude and zest for winning in anything he strapped on. Yet, he was also one of the BADEST BAD ASSES! Since he didn’t like being beat, especially by some God DAMN Movie Star! (As in Steve McQueen) And as previously mentioned, Mario is one of only three drivers to have won a Formula 1 World Championship, CART Championship and the Indy 500!

Aldo’s racing career was rather less successful, as he endured two major crashes, with the second resulting in 14 fractures of his face and ultimately leading to his decision to retire from the cockpit. Folklore suggests that Aldo’s most notable accomplishment was filling in for his brother Mario in Gasoline Alley for the obligatory photo-ops session, after Mario had been injured in a dirt track event and didn’t want his picture taken with two black eyes? Thus I’m assuming that Mario and Aldo were Identical Twins?

ANDRETTI; Michael and Jeff
Michael and Jeff are both the sons of Mario and everybody already knows of “Mikey’s” racing accomplishments... And according to OWR Curmudgeon Robin Miller, Michael Andretti was his favourite driver since he was always worth the price of admission just to see what he’d do on the track... While younger brother Jeff is the lesser known of the two, along with having a less successful career then Mikey.

Yet, Jeff was the 1991 CART Rookie of the Year, ironically the same year that big brother Michael won his only CART championship, with Jeff contesting the Indy 500 three times, but a violent crash in 1992 at the Speedway which severely damaged both legs effectively ended his career. Jeff also has a somewhat dubious connection to the Northwest, albeit not a preferred connection... Do you know what it was?

ANDRETTI; John and Adam
John and Adam are the sons of Mario’s twin brother Aldo. Elder brother John is the better known of the two, having contested Indy multiple times, most recently as Jay Howard’s reluctant replacement this past May. John also has a lone CART victory at the wheel of Jim Hall’s re-incarnated Hall/VDS CART/PPG Championship racing team, as well as having won in Top Fuel Dragsters and anything else with four wheels...

Younger brother Adam is currently plying the family trade in the Flinstone Indy Lites series, although I haven’t heard a peep about him this season, which makes me think perhaps he’s having a tough season, as I last heard him mouthing off about how great the IRL was on Autosport Radio.

BETTENHAUSEN; Gary, Merle and Tony Jr.
This truly has to be one of the most ill-fated families in Open Wheel Racing, as first father Tony Sr. perished and subsequently Merle had a horrible accident, followed by Gary’s accident. And ultimately Tony Jr’s death, while Tony Sr. raced pre and post WWII, winning the National Championship twice, along with 21 wins before perishing at the Speedway in 1961 while testing a friend’s racecar.

Gary, the eldest of the three Bettenhausen brothers, was 19, with Merle 17 and Tony Lee 9 when their father died in a horrific accident that fateful day in May 1961, yet Gary would go on to race at Indianapolis a total of 21 times, earning his Rookie Stripes in 1968, with a best finish of third place in 1980.

Gary briefly drove for The Captain (1972-74) and while driving for Roger Penske immediately retired from the 1972 USAC Championship Car event at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) where his brother Merle was making his paved racing debut and would be seriously injured in a Kingfish, (McLaren knock off) losing his right arm in a violent accident on lap three, effectively ending his Indy Car career, although Merle would continue to drive Midgets.

The following year, Gary broke his arm in a Sprint Car race following Indy and Roger Penske offered the drive to some chap named David Hobbs, but the Englishman was unable to accept due to sponsorship conflicts and ironically, 1972 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Mike Hiss would fill-in for Gary, as it had been Hiss who had collided with Merle at MIS the previous year.

Tom Sneva, a fellow Dirt Tracker himself, was hired as Gary’s replacement at Penske Racing for the 1975 season after The Captain had grown tired of Gary being constantly injured in what Roger deemed unneeded Dirt Car accidents, as Gary would suffer severe nerve damage to his arm in one of these Dirt Track events.

Gary’s brother Tony made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1981 and would finish seventh, his best finish of his eleven starts at the Speedway. Tony started his own CART team in the early 1990’s with ex-Formula 1 piloto “Stevie Johnson,” a.k.a. Stefan Johansson being his first hired gun from 1992-96, as the team would primarily campaign year old Penske equipment. Other such noteable drivers as Helio Castroneves and Patrick Carpentier would drive for the AMAX/Alumax sponsored team, with Gary and Tony last competing at Indy together in 1993.

After a very tough 1999 season, the team took on Michele Jourdain Jr. and his Herdez sponsorship for the upcoming campaign, yet sadly, Tony, along with his wife and two business associates would perish in a small plane crash enroute to CART’s spring practice at Homestead, Miami on Valentine’s Day, 2000.

FABI; Teo and Corrado
These were the last “true” brothers to race in Formula 1 together, prior to some “Mutt ‘N Jeff” act better known as The Schuey Bros...

Teo, the older brother is more likely known for his impressive racing career, having begun his sporting career as a downhill racer before switching to motor racing, inspired by his younger brother’s exploits. Teo rose quickly through the ranks and became a March Formula 2 works driver, a loose association he would keep throughout his career.

Teo made a total of 71 starts in Formula 1, claiming three career poles and having begun his Grand Prix career with the fledgling Toleman team which would later be bought out by Benetton and rebranded as such, ultimately leading to two World Championships (1994-95( along with the Constructor’s title (1995) with some cat named Michael Schumacher.

Yet, after an auspicious debut season with Toleman, Teo would spend considerable time crossing the Atlantic and finished as the CART championship runner-up in his 1983 Rookie season aboard the Skoal Bandit Forsythe entry, scoring four victories for the new March Indy Car chassis. Teo also became only the second rookie to capture the pole at Indianapolis that year, leading 23 laps before retiring with mechanical maladies.

After having split time in both Open Wheel Racing series the previous year, Teo decided to focus his energies solely upon F1, leaving Forsythe’s operation and returning to Brabham, before making a switch to Benetton where he’d finish out his Grand Prix career.

Yet, for me, Teo is most remembered as the piloto of the Quaker State green and white Porsche powered Champ Car, scoring the team’s lone victory at Mid Ohio... Albeit I find the latter Fosters liveried Porsches more astatically pleasing. Teo remained loyal to the team running March chassis until the operation was shut down largely due to the loss of team founder Al Holbert.

Teo then switched to Sports Cars, capturing the 1991 World Sports Car (WSC) championship for Tom Walkinshaw’s all conquering Jaguar’s, before moving onto Toyota’s Sports Car team and ultimately making his final foray in CART with Jim Hall’s reincarnated Hall/VDS effort before retiring in 1994.

Meanwhile, Teo’s younger brother Corrado is the lesser known of the two Italian’s and his main claim to fame is being Teo’s fill-in at Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham F1 team whenever Teo had conflicting CART dates.

Yet, Teo owes his racing career largely to Corrado, who apparently became bored during one of Teo’s skiing races and went and drove a Go Kart instead, which ultimately led to his own racing career, along with sparking Teo’s interest.

Corrado, like Teo worked his way thru the Open Wheel ranks as a March team driver, ultimately winning the 1982 European F2 championship with Michele Alboreto as teammate, prior to spending his Grand Prix rookie season (1983) with the little Oscella team before filling in for his brother at Brabham.

Corrado also had a brief foray in CART with Forsythe before retiring to run the Family’s Talcum powder business after their father’s death in 1984.

FITTIPALDI; Wilson and Emerson
How can Emerson Fittipaldi not make the list of the BADDEST BAD ASSES! Since he’s the only person to be able to pull off wearing Elvis Presley “Mutton-chop” side burns so eloquently! EMMO also happened to be the youngest ever Formula 1 champion of his day, before some chump named “Ferdi the Putz,” a.k.a. Fernando Alonso stole his crown.

Emmo is also a member of the very elite trio of drivers to win Formula 1 and CART Championships as well as the Indy 500, a feat only accomplished by Mario Andretti, Emmo and Jacques Villeneuve, as Emmo’s resume speaks for itself; Two time Formula 1 World Champion, (1972, ’74) CART Champion (1989) and double Indy 500 winner. (1989, ’93)

Wilson, (Jr.) the older brother of Emerson, was a journeyman Grand Prix driver, with two seasons driving Works Brabham’s (1972-73) before focusing his efforts upon the Copersucar Fittipaldi Grand Prix team, which saw Brazil’s first F1 chassis making its debut in late ’74.

Wilson then spent his final season in Formula 1 (1975) with Emerson as his teammate, behind the wheel of the Fittipaldi brother’s unsuccessful F1 team racecar’s before handing the operation over to Emmo in 1976, deciding to focus upon the family’s business empire and son Christian’s race career instead...

NW Connection
Jeff Andretti took over Dominic Dobson’s drive for Bayside Racing in 1991, as Bayside Racing was based in Redmond, Washington...