OCTOBER 20, 2006
Mario Andretti (66) will be awarded the title of "Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana" by Antonio Bandini, Italy's Consul General in New York on Monday in recognition of his remarkable career and good character, which have reinforced a positive image of Italians throughout the world.
In a career that spanned an unprecedented five decades, Mario Andretti has achieved prominence in almost every category of motor racing. He has been Formula 1 World Champion, Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 winner, four-time Indy Car National Champion, USAC National Dirt Track Champion and three-time winner of 12 Hours of Sebring.
Among those invited to the ceremony in New York will be his son Michael, a retired Indy car champion and owner of Andretti Green Racing, and his 19-year old grandson, Marco, who was named Rookie of the Year this season by the Indy Racing League.
The official title of commendatore is the third of six ranks of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica, an organisation not dissimilar to the French Legion d'Honneur or Britain's Order of the British Empire.
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