Aldo Andretti, twin brother of auto racing legend Mario Andretti, dead at 80

INDIANAPOLIS — Aldo Andretti, the twin brother of auto racing legend Mario Andretti, died Wednesday night in Indianapolis, Andretti Autosport announced. He was 80.

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The Andretti family emigrated to the United States in 1955, WXIN reported. Aldo Andretti was part of one of auto racing’s most famous families. He was the father of MaryJo Andretti-Dial, Mark Andretti, Adam Andretti and the late John Andretti, as well as the uncle of Michael Andretti and Jeff Andretti, and great-uncle of Marco Andretti, the television station reported.

“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 tweeted Thursday. “Half of me went with him. There is no eloquence. I’m shaken to my core.

“Though Aldo’s life took a different direction than brother Mario’s, Aldo forever shared a passion for racing and was a true motor enthusiast and entrepreneur,” Andretti Autosport said in a release. “He could often still be found on the racing circuit supporting and following the careers of the family.”

Aldo and Mario were born hours apart on Feb. 28, 1940, in Montona, Italy, the Indianapolis Star reported. The brothers built the Hudson Hornet, which Aldo drove to victory in its 1959 debut, the newspaper reported. Aldo Andretti got to drive the car after winning a coin flip from his brother.

During the final race of the 1959 season, Aldo Andretti was seriously injured during a qualifying heat, the Star reported. He drove the right front tire of the Hudson Hornet into the wall and the car flipped. The roof collapsed and Aldo Andretti’s helmet split open, the newspaper reported. He would be in a coma for four days.

Aldo Andretti came out of his coma and would be competing again within a few years. However, Mario Andretti told Indy Monthly in 2017 that his brother seemed “a half-lap slower on the track than before his accident.

Aldo Andretti’s final race was in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1969, the Star reported. A crash early in the race left him with 14 broken bones and a destroyed eye socket, according to the newspaper. His jaw also had to be wired shut.

“It’s important how I say this,” Aldo told Star columnist Thomas Keating in 1973. “I’m extremely proud of Mario, but sometimes I feel something like envy mixed in with the pride. Not envy exactly, but something close, like my life isn’t quite fulfilled.”

Aldo Andretti opened Andretti Firestone in the early 1970s, selling tires and wheels and handling auto repairs, the Star reported.

“Most people think I stopped because of that crash but I stopped to run this place,” he told former Star reporter Robin Miller. “You can’t ever tell what is going to happen … I’ve been so busy, I really haven’t had time to think about it.”

In 1986, Aldo started Andretti Machine & Engineering Co., the newspaper reported.

According to a news release from Andretti Autosport, services for Aldo Andretti will be held Tuesday in Brownsburg, Indiana.