Mario’s 52nd Win

Sunday in Nashville Scott Dixon won the 53rd race of his career, vaulting him past Mario Andretti for second place on the all time win list. Dixon won his 52nd race in Toronto earlier this season, less than a week before his 42nd birthday. Andretti was 53 years old when he won his 52nd race in Phoenix.

It took 29 years or a driver to match and then slide past Andretti’s victory total. A. J. Foyt’s 67 win mark is probably secure.

Andretti’s win didn’t come easy. He hadn’t won a race since July 3, 1988, at the Cleveland Grand Prix. His 50th win also came at Phoenix in 1988. Andretti started second, dropped back to fourth, then pulled back into third place, two laps behind leader Paul Tracy, who crashed on lap 161. Tracy’s Penske teammate Emerson Fittipaldi took over the lea, but also crashed on lap 171. Andretti inherited the lead and won by more than a lap over Raul Boesel.

Mario Andretti hoists his 52nd winner’s trophy.

Asked about how he took the lead and the victory, Andretti said,

“There was luck, no question about it. Obviously, I’ve had races taken away from me. I’ll take ‘em any way I can get ‘em.”

The win was Andretti’s fourth at Phoenix, a track where he held the record for the most top 5s, 22, and the most top 10s, 30. Andretti sat on the pole eight times at Phoenix.

The results of the race, from The Indianapolis Star, April 5, 1993: