Corning, NY — A sold-out crowd of international racing stars, captains of the motorsports industry, local dignitaries and race fans gathered Thursday (Aug. 31) to honor Mario Andretti as the 2017 recipient of the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports.
Andretti was the fourth recipient of the International Motor Racing Research Center’s award, following Chip Ganassi, Richard Petty and Roger Penske.
“This is the most amazing evening that I’ve ever spent,” Andretti said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this, ever,” he said after being presented with the award by IMRRC Governing Council Chairman Bobby Rahal and Peter Argetsinger, one of nine children of the late Cameron and Jean Argetsinger. Watch video of Andretti’s remarks.
Among the salutes throughout the evening were videos from Dan Gurney, Edsel Ford III, Scott Pruett, Danny Sullivan, Linda Vaughn, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Bobby Unser.
Ganassi was on hand to honor Andretti, while other past award recipients Penske and Petty sent video congratulations. Master of ceremonies Dr. Jerry Punch interviewed IndyCar star Dario Franchitti and 4-time Indy 500 champion Rick Mears in the audience.
A common thread of attributes was woven throughout the comments from Punch and other speakers: a master of motorsports, a gentleman and a family man, a humble man of high integrity, a man passionate about and committed to the future of racing. A heartfelt question and answer session between Andretti and Punch followed the award presentation.
When asked how he wants to be remembered, Andretti answered simply: “I’m just a racer.”