RIP John, he died Thursday at the age of 56, from colon cancer. He was one of my favorite racers ever, and was the nicest Andretti.
We grew up in the same town, same age, competing high schools. He was an exceptional racer, won races in different types of cars that nobody has ever accomplished, probably never will (IndyCar, Nascar, Rolex 24 at Daytona, Top Fuel dragster, sports car)
He raised millions of dollars for local Riley Children's Hospital, with a charity go kart race. Dozens of top racers would show up....Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd, 10-12 IndyCar racers, Dario Franchitti, Mark Dismore (owns the track) Vitor Meira (track lap record holder) Sarah Fisher, Josef Newgarden (won this race when he was 16) Scott Dixon and Dan Weldon (in their matching Target race suits) local celebrities. I raced in one of these events, even alongside John, but not for long, he passed me and was gone!
He was just a good guy, always approachable, never rude, always smiling. A Riley spokesperson said today that John would just show up all the time, just to talk to the kids and their families. He didn't care if there weren't cameras around, that wasn't why he was there.