Son of the charismatic promoter of STP, Andy Granatelli, he had become team leader when it ran the famous turbocharged cars, and was also seen in Formula 1 following Mario Andretti when he won with the beautiful, but mediocre March 701.
Vince emerged from his father’s shadow when he took over Dan Cotter’s IndyCar team in 1980, almost immediately hitting success.
After winning the Indy 500 in 1983 with Tom Sneva, the Bignotti-Cotter had no further joys; Sneva left and Bignotti retired, with Roberto Guerrero able to hit only four podiums in three seasons.
Photo by: Steve Shunck
With Vince Granatelli in command since 1987, the team achieved a second success with Guerrero in Phoenix, coming back from the back of the grid after his car failed to pass the post-qualifying scrutineering.
In the next race, the Indy 500, Guerrero took the lead after Mario Andretti’s retirement with 23 laps to go, but the clutch was damaged in a collision with the stray wheel lost by another car (which flew into the stands and killed a spectator).
Coming out of the pit lane after his last stop, Guerrero ran into two stalls due to the problem, giving Al Unser (Penske) the fourth victory and having to settle for the place of honor.
Later there were further disappointments in Milwaukee and Portland, despite scoring pole in both events, and also the one in Cleveland where, however, he only came in fifth place.
In Pocono, Guerrero took the podium and two races later fought for success in Mid-Ohio.
A serious crash in practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway sent the Colombian to the hospital in a coma and out of action for the final three races of the season, in which he finished fourth in the standings.
Vince Granatelli of STP, Bill Dunne, Mario Andretti and March designer Robin Herd at Kyalami F1 GP in 1970.
Photo by: David Phipps
In comparison, 1988 was a failure, full of bad luck and accidents, with just two podiums scored. At the end of the season Guerrero left and Granatelli switched to Buick engines for 89, but with the now old Tom Sneva, John Andretti and Didier Theys only a Top 10 came.
1990 didn’t go that much better; at the end of the year, Granatelli merged with Bob Tezak-owned Doug Shierson Racing, taking Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and signing a deal with Chevrolet.
Arie Luyendyk with Vince Granatelli after their second and last win together at Nazareth in 1991.
Photo by: Dan R. Boyd
The Lola-Chevy driven by Luyendyk won in Phoenix, Granatelli somehow kept the team at the top all summer despite Tezak’s fall from grace, and was rewarded for his perseverance with another win with Luyendyk in Nazareth who earned him sixth place in the championship.
Despite this, Granatelli did not find the funds to continue and thus closed the business.
Luyendyk, who has always kept in touch with his ex-boss, tweeted: “I just learned that Vince Granatelli died today, I am devastated and devastated by this sad news. We have lost an icon of the IndyCar family and a great friend. “.
Vince Granatelli with Parnelli Jones and Mario Andretti in 2014.
Photo by: Brad Hoffner
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