"THE CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS"
"TURN LEFT TO WIN"
In 1969, Mario Andretti won his only Indianapolis 500. To commemorate that year over a quarter century ago, "Rare Sportsfilms" is pleased to offer for the first time on video, the vintage racefilm, "The Challenge of Champions"! As a bonus, we have also included another beautifully restored version of the 1969 race, "Turn Left To Win." Both of these 1969 films are included on this new tape, a total of 54 minutes of full-color racing action!
Few drivers ever started a race at Indy from the front row with dimmer hopes for winning than Andretti did in '69. A.J. Foyt in his #6 Sheraton-Thompson Special and Andretti in a newly designed STP Lotus Ford are the pace setters throughout the month, clocking speeds above 170 MPH. However, Mario's practice crash destroys his new Lotus, and the Granatelli crew is forced to ready a year-old backup car in only two days with hopes that it will be at least competitive. Although Mario qualifies the car in the middle of the front row, it's clear that the car runs too hot and that it uses too much fuel. Not only that, pole-winner Foyt is determined to win his 4th 500 in a car that has been running perfectly all month. On the other side of Mario in the front row is Bobby Unser, not only the defending National Champion, but the winner of last year's race as well! Given these factors, Andretti wasn't given much of a chance of winning Indy in '69, especially with his and Granatelli's history of bad luck at the speedway. How Mario does it is an interesting story - the tale of one of the more memorable 500's in history.
In addition to seeing great shots of the speedway as it looked a generation ago, you'll see nice closeups of the drivers and racing personalities of the day: Jim Hurtubise, Rick Muther, Bill Vukovich, Lee Roy Yarbrough, Al Unser, Bud Tingelstad, George Follmer, Sonny Ates, George Snider, Dennis Hulme, Sam Sessions, Wally Dallenbach, Parnelli Jones, young Roger Penske with Rookie-Of-The-Year Mark Donohue, top mechanics George Bignotti and Smokey Yunick plus Clint Brawner and Jim McGee of the STP crew. You'll even hear live interviews with drivers Mel Kenyon, Jim McElreath, Roger McCluskey and Mario Andretti! Qualifications are covered, including the much talked about attempt and waive-off of rookie Jigger Sirois on the first day. Shown qualifying are Mark Donohue, Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt, Art Pollard and of course, Mario Andretti.
Andretti beats Foyt into the first turn to start the race, but almost immediately Bill Vukovich is out with rod failure. Art Pollard in the new STP #40 car is out after only 7 laps with a broken drive line, and Bruce Walkup's transmission fails on the pace lap! During the race, action in the pits is covered, with Foyt, Andretti, Dan Gurney, Joe Leonard, Wally Dallenbach and Bobby Johns all shown in for service. This race is also remembered for Lloyd Ruby's heartbreaking luck. He's leading as he makes his second stop, but pulls away with his fuel hose still attached, ripping the side out of his gas tank! On this video, almost a dozen spins are shown including practice, qualifications and the race. The race itself is one of the safest in history, with only two minor incidents. Coming down the front stretch on his 24th lap, Jim McElreath's engine blows and the oil ignites! Flames follow "Mac" down the front chute to turn one, where he stops the car and jumps out before the flames are brought under control. Arnie Knepper's accident at the north end of the main straightaway is also shown.
Many of the pre-race favorites, such as A.J. Foyt, are shown undergoing unexpected setbacks, and by the race's end, Andretti has almost a 2-lap lead on 2nd place Dan Gurney. After all the obstacles Mario had to overcome to win in '69, and with 25 more 500s ahead of him, who would have ever thought that this great driver would only win once at Indianapolis?
Now you can get these two historic, action-packed 1969 racing films, both on one video (54 minutes long) for only $24.95 plus $3.00 for shipping. (Illinois residents must add $2.00 tax).
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