INDIANAPOLIAS — Aldo Andretti, twin brother of world champion Mario Andretti, died on Dec. 30. He was 80 years old.
Mario Andretti confirmed his brother’s death on Twitter.
“Aldo Andretti, my loving twin brother, my partner in crime and my faithful best friend every day of my life was called to heaven last night,” Mario Andretti wrote. “Half of me went with him. There is no eloquence. I’m shaken to my core.”
Aldo Andretti, my loving twin brother, my partner in crime and my faithful best friend every day of my life was called to heaven last night. Half of me went with him. There is no eloquence. I’m shaken to my core. pic.twitter.com/NJ3fZxklNo
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) December 31, 2020
Aldo Andretti’s death comes 11 months after his oldest son, John, died of colon cancer.
The Andretti brothers were 15 years old when they migrated to America with their sister, Anna Maria, and parents Gigi and Rina, aboard the Conte Biancamano.
They landed in New York city and took residence in Nazareth, Pa., as Rina’s uncle Tony had sponsored their immigration.
On the family’s first Sunday in Pennsylvania, Aldo was in bed with a headache when Mario bounded up the stairs, claiming he’d heard the rumble of racing engines. Aldo sprang out of bed and the two of them were out the door, chasing the noise.
It drew them to Nazareth Speedway, a half-mile oval of hard-packed dirt, around which hulking jalopies were sliding.
They began stashing the money they earned pumping gas. By the autumn of 1958, they’d saved enough to buy a battered ’48 Hudson Hornet. Utilizing shop space and tools made available by a friendly contractor, they started work on their first modified.
Quietly, the boys toiled on that Hudson.
From the start, they agreed to take turns driving. Aldo went first, on an April Sunday in 1959. He started last in his heat, but blasted through traffic to win it. In the longer main event, he was able to take his time and he won that, too. The brothers collected $10 for the heat and $80 for the feature. Back they came a week later, with Mario at the wheel. The results were identical: heat victory, feature victory, $90 payday.
Their racing careers had begun.
While Mario Andretti quickly gained national and international stardom, Aldo Andretti continued to race on America’s short tracks. That is until a crash during a 1969 sprint car race in Des Moines, Iowa, severely damaged his face, resulting in 13 broken bones.
After the crash he quit racing and started several businesses, including Andretti Firestone and Andretti Machine Engineering.
Racing remained close to his heart and as he raised his sons John, Mark and Adam and daughter Mary Jo, along with his wife Corky, who was his high school sweetheart.
John and Adam each became successful drivers in their own right.
“My dad’s funny, and he has a lot of sayings” John Andretti wrote in his autobiography, “John Andretti, RACER.” “We call them Aldoisms.”
One Aldoism that John Andretti shared in his book was, “The world is round John. Be careful what you do today because it will come back around tomorrow and bite you in the ass.”
Aldo Andretti’s passion for racing remained throughout his life and he was often found at the track supporting and following the careers of his family, including his grandson, Jarett (John’s son), who actively competes with USAC and other racing organizations.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at noon, at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Brownsburg, Ind. The family will receive friends from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, at Stevens Mortuary in Indianapolis.