Mario Andretti Receives Inaugural Spirit of Competition Award
Mario Andretti – the driver many feel is the greatest that ever raced – received the first annual “Spirit of Competition” Award at the dedication of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum this evening. The award was presented to Mr. Andretti by Dick Vermeil, former coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Museum was dedicated by the Honorable Michael A. Nutter, mayor of the City of Philadelphia.
The new Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum contains over 60 of the rarest and most significant racing sports cars in the world, and opened to the public last June. The central theme of the Simeone Foundation collection is “the spirit of competition.”
“No other driver represents the spirit of competition better than Mario,” said Dr. Fred Simeone, executive director of the Museum. “He told me he never started a race he didn’t feel he would win.”
Andretti was presented with a plaque containing a replica of Alberto Ascari’s competition driving license of, Andretti’s boyhood hero. In addition, he received a 1948 Hudson painted to match the first race car he and his brother Aldo built in America.
In addition to presenting the award, Mr. Vermeil also brought a sprint car that had been raced by his father, Louis Vermeil, in Northern California races. “Seeing Mario sit in my father’s car brought tears to my eyes. I could see my dad looking down and smiling.”