On this day in 1965, Mario Andretti scored the first of his 52 Indy car victories on the Indianapolis Raceway Park road course.
Andretti had joined the United States Auto Club in 1964, and finished third in the sprint car point standings. He also drove in his first Indy car event at Trenton, NJ that April, finishing 11th.
But 1965 was truly Mario's launching pad in Indy cars. His win on IRP's road course with his Hawk-Ford, after having finished a solid third as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500. Although IRP would be his only win that season, his consistent finishes – 12 finishes in the top four – carried him to the championship, making the 25-year-old Andretti the youngest Indy car champ to that point.
In 1966 he was more dominant, winning eight races, his first pole at the Indy 500 (ABOVE) and a second straight national championship. He would go on to be the first driver to win Indy car races in four decades, scoring his 52nd triumph at Phoenix in 1993.