Mario Andretti was born on Feb. 28, 1940, in Montona, Italy. Mario was the identical twin brother of Aldo Andretti. Born only months before Italy joined Germany in World War II Mario had a rather rough childhood. When the war ended Mario's town came under communist rule. From 1948 to 1955 his family lived in a refugee camp. Mario's family was very poor and had to work hard to get by. Racing was a part of Mario's life from the beginning. In Italy race car drivers were well looked up to. Ferrari Grand Prix driver, Alberto Ascari, was Mario's idol.
As a child Mario went to many races. Watching the races made Mario's desire to become a race car driver grow. During Mario's childhood the Italian government developed a program for young talented Italian drivers to be recognized. Mario and his brother got a sponsor for a car and started racing in Formula Junior racing in Italy.
Aldo and Mario switched off driving and crewing at the races. They had a lot of success and had a lot of loyal fans.
Since the Andretti's were not even close to being wealthy Mario's father thought about the future of the family. He decided that America would hold a much better future and give them a lot more opportunities than Italy. The Andretti's had relatives that lived in Nazareth, Pennsylvania Under the immigration laws a foreign family must of had proof they'd have a place to live. Their relatives served as their sponsors. So in 1955 Mario and his family emigrated to the United States.
Not long after the Andretti's moved to the United States Mario got a job at a local gas station. Mario had worked hard on race cars in Italy and learned a lot about being...