John Andretti, a longtime competitor in NASCAR, IndyCar and sports-car racing, died Thursday. He was 56.
The Andretti Autosport team confirmed his passing after a long battle with colon cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2017.
“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second,” a statement from the Andretti team read in part.
“John Andretti embodied the spirit of a champion and inspired an entire fan base through his courageous battle with cancer,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a statement. “He was a fierce competitor throughout his life, and we are saddened by his passing. The entire NASCAR family extends its deepest condolences and prayers to John’s family.”
Andretti won twice in 393 starts in NASCAR’s top division from 1993-2010, both victories coming with NASCAR Hall of Famers as his team owners. He prevailed in July 1997 at Daytona International Speedway for Cale Yarborough Motorsports, then won again two years later in car owner Richard Petty’s No. 43 at Martinsville Speedway.