Mario Andretti in the pits at Sebring, 1970.
Three years after winning his first Twelve Hours in 1967, Andretti was well on his way to a second Sebring win in the No. 19 Ferrari 512S Spyder that he co-drove with Arturo Merzario. Andretti put the car on pole by a healthy margin in qualifying, and he and Merzario dominated most of the race for the Ferrari factory team.
They led by as many as 12 laps before gearbox troubles forced the No. 19 Ferrari to stop. Disappointed, Andretti was ready to head for home. “I was ready to go, say my goodbyes and Mauro Forghieri, the team manager said, ‘No, wait, wait, wait! I might want you to go and finish the race with the third car (the No. 21 Ferrari 512S Coupe) with Vaccarella and Giunti’. “Then all of a sudden, the leading Porsche had some issues with a front hub, and they’re in the pits. Revson moved into the lead, and I hear the announcer saying, ‘And Steve McQueen takes the lead!” Andretti remembers. “They’re screaming, ‘Steve McQueen!’ and that pissed me off, actually. So, I told Forghieri, ‘If you want me to go, I’ll go in the car”.
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