Racing icon Mario Andretti was born in the Kingdom of Italy on February 28, 1940. This means the first few years of his life were heavily affected by World War II.

In an interview with Steve Rider of Sky Sports F1, Mario Andretti said there wasn’t a lot of happiness around him growing up. He parents constantly yelled and argued about politics, and since that’s all he’d ever been around, that’s how he thought life was going to be.

When Andretti was eight years old, his family made the decision to leave Montona to escape communism,  making them refugees. They lived in one large building with 2,000 other people, with only blankets separating families.

The Andretti family eventually emigrated to the United States in 1955, finding a spot in Nazareth, Pennsylvania to call home. That’s where Andretti discovered his passion for motorsports. Known as one of the most successful drivers in history, Andretti is still the only man to win the Daytona 500 (1967), Indianapolis 500 (1969), and a Formula 1 World Championship (1978).

With the New Year coming into effect, Andretti shared a heartfelt message via Twitter, which effectively challenged people to be nicer and make a stronger effort to cooperate in 2018. This is sound advice coming from a man who despite having a turbulent youth, eventually made himself one the best at his professional by working hard, never giving up, and treating others with respect.

“Happy New Year. As we all enter the New Year together, how about making a united resolution: To be kind. To be more civil, less rude, less hateful, less nasty, to use better judgement & better behavior. Good intentions make better outcomes in 2018.”

A racing legend opens the New Year with a wish that resonates beyond the track Twitter / Riccardo Turcato
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