A funeral service was held for race car driver John Andretti in Indianapolis last week following a hard-fought battle with colon cancer.
Friends and family paid tribute to Andretti during a service held at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral and during a private burial shortly after. The funeral procession made an important stop on the way to the service, though, with Andretti’s hearse entering Indianapolis Motor Speedway and taking him for one last lap around the legendary 2.5-mile speedway.
John Andretti, who was born to Mario Andretti’s older brother Aldo, has 12 Indy 500 starts to his name, recording a best finish of fifth in 1991 behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-powered Hall/VDS Racing Lola. In 1994, he became the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day Double – racing in the Indianapolis 500 and in the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Charlotte later that night. Andretti finished 10th at Indianapolis that year, running as high as third at one point in the race, but was classified 36th at Charlotte after his Chevrolet’s engine let go on Lap 220.
Andretti first revealed to fans he had stage four colon cancer in April of 2017. He subsequently started the hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti to encourage middle-age and older people to get colonoscopies to pre-screen for cancer.
In lieu of flowers, the Andretti family is asking friends and family to make a donation to the Riley Children’s Foundation and Window World Cares, the latter of which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – charities that Andretti held dear.
“John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin. He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend,” Andretti Autosport, which is run by brother Mario, said in a statement, “Through Race4Riley, John spent decades dedicating his time and fundraising attention to Riley Hospital for Children. When first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, John vowed to fight back and use his voice to help spread the word of prevention and early detection. He fought hard and stole back days the disease vowed to take away. He helped countless others under proper screening, and in doing so, saved lives.”
“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarrett, Olvia and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fan worldwide. We urge all our followers to, please, #CheckIt4Andretti.”
You can see the video of John Andretti’s final lap of IMS embedded below.