John Andretti reached the finish line of his life much too soon.
At 56 years of age, the member of racing loyalty passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. Not only was John the nephew of Mario Andretti, but he also found success in both IndyCar and NASCAR through the years. Heck, he once raced in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600…in the same day.
The man was a quiet beast.
“I’m an Andretti,” Andretti told the IndyStar back in 2018. “I already beat the age I should have lived to. Growing up when you’re a little bit wild in a race car, I think everybody in our family’s always heard this: ‘You’re not going to live to see 20.’ Then it was, ‘You’re not going to live see 25,’ then, ’30.’ But here I am. Still going. Our family’s already been through plenty of trials, and we’re still here. To get taken down by this, well, I’m going to go out giving it the strongest fight I can give it.”
And fight he did.
And that’s what so many of his fellow drivers will remember about him.
“Sad news about John Andretti,” NASCAR driver Kurt Busch tweeted out on Thursday (Jan. 30.) “Racing against him was always tough because you knew he was smiling in his helmet while he was driving. John inspired me to do “The Double.” RIP.”
Sad news about John Andretti. Racing against him was always tough because you knew he was smiling in his helmet while he was driving. John inspired me to do “The Double.” RIP
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) January 30, 2020
“The best godfather,” IndyCar driver Marco Andretti tweeted out. “Your passion for Motorsport was admirable. Always the good ones we lose too soon.”
— Marco Andretti (@MarcoAndretti) January 30, 2020
Perhaps one of Andretti’s most lasting legacies was his determination to the hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti, which reminded people to get their routine colon cancer screenings.
“This type of cancer, it’s known as the silent killer, and it caught him when he was too busy in racing and chasing doing things he loved,” Mario Andretti said. “He knew he made that mistake, but instantly, his mind-set was ‘Maybe, I can help prevent others from making the same mistake.'”