Mario Andretti turned 79 years young today, and shared a very special gift he received with his Twitter followers.
His “BFF AJ Foyt” sent him a bottle of wine from the Foyt Family Vineyards collection, which left the 1969 Indy 500 champ beaming.
It was a fitting gift from one racing legend and vintner to another, as Andretti also owns a winery, but there may have been more meaning behind the selection.
It was a bottle of A.J. Foyt 1, which features an image of the red Ford GT40 that he and the late Dan Gurney drove to victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the first and only time an all-American team ever took the checkered flag at the race.
Andretti also drove a GT40 in the event, but his pit crew improperly installed a set of brake pads in the middle of the night, which led to a 150 mph wreck that he had to be pulled from by teammate Roger McCluskey.
Andretti escaped without any major injuries and went on to enjoy a long career, but didn’t return to Le Mans until 1983. He did pretty well for himself in the intervening years, however, winning the 1969 Indy 500 and 1978 Formula 1 championship.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of that victory at this May’s 103rd running of the event. The 84-year-old Foyt will likely be at The Brickyard to toast with him in person, too, as his IndyCar team’s drivers Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist will be going for the win in the race.