Indianapolis, IN – Tours of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track resumed yesterday (July 6), and the Museum re-opens today. It also announced that a new exhibit about racing promoter Andy Granatelli will debut Aug. 1.
“Granatelli: Larger Than Life presented by O’Donovan & McCardel Wealth Management of Raymond James” will chronicle the life and legacy of the marketing wizard who turned an oil additive — STP Oil Treatment — into a household name, and won the Indianapolis 500 as a car owner through sheer will, persistence and a work ethic ingrained from childhood.
The Granatelli brothers — Andy, Joe and Vince — were a true rags-to-riches story. They grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood, yet the trio became automotive entrepreneurs before their teenage years.
The brothers went on to promote races at Chicago’s Soldier Field, barnstorm across the Midwest fair circuit with an auto thrill show, and eventually build the family business, Grancor, into a multimillion dollar powerhouse.
Through much of the 1960s and ‘70s, Andy Granatelli used the Indianapolis 500 to increase the popularity of STP by displaying the logo prominently on everything from team uniforms to billboards, and by handing out free STP decals by the thousands. His tireless promotion, including rubbing elbows with A-list celebrities, also elevated the race’s popularity. One classic example: Granatelli invited late-night talk show legend Johnny Carson to drive the STP Paxton Turbine at IMS in Fall 1967.
After years of heartbreaking near-misses, Granatelli finally achieved victory at the 500 in 1969 with driver Mario Andretti, and the ebullient Granatelli created one of the race’s most endearing moments by planting a massive kiss on Andretti’s cheek in Victory Circle.
The exhibit — which will run through June 20, 2021 — will accompany the museum’s “From the Vault presented by Bank of America” display that will now run through March 21, 2021.