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John Andretti Passes Away at 56

John Andretti dies at age of 56 after fight with colon cancer…

Photo: Brian Clear/SRO America

John Andretti has passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 56.

Andretti, the nephew of Indianapolis 500 winner Mario and cousin of Andretti Autosport owner Michael, was an accomplished and versatile driver, having won races in NASCAR, IMSA and IndyCar competition. 

Most recently, he was involved with his son Jarett’s racing program in Pirelli GT4 America competition, having played a key role in the development of Andretti Autosport’s efforts in SRO America.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts we share that John Andretti has today lost his battle with cancer,” Andretti Autosport said in a statement. “John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin.

“He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly, a dear friend.

“Through Race4Riley, John spent decades dedicating his time and fundraising attention to Riley Hospital for Children. When first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, John vowed to fight back and use his voice to help spread the word of prevention and early detection.

“He fought hard and stole back days the disease vowed to take away. He helped countless others undergo proper screening, and in doing so, saved lives.

“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second.

“Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarett, Olivia and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fans worldwide.”

SRO Motorsports America President and CEO Greg Gill says everyone in the organization were “gutted” with today’s news of Andretti’s passing.

“I was grateful to meet one of my heroes,” Gill said. “John was humble, funny, smart, and always on his game.

“We were honored to work with him and his son Jarett in our paddock. And I was honored to call him a friend.

“All of us at SRO America extend our prayers to the Andretti family and we support John’s legacy by encouraging to #CheckIt4Andretti.”

Andretti, an accomplished IMSA racer, had won the 1989 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Porsche 962 shared with Derek Bell and Bob Wollek. 

“We are devastated by the news that our dear friend, John Andretti, has passed away,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “John was an extremely talented IMSA racer, as his 1989 Rolex 24 victory and three other victories will attest.

“But he was one of the most versatile racers ever, winning races in IndyCar and NASCAR and reaching the pinnacle of top fuel drag racing as well.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, friends and many colleagues, and he will be missed by many throughout our motorsports community.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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