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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 03:51 GMT 04:51 UK
Andretti in Indy U-turn
Former Formula One world champion Mario Andretti
Andretti is a former Indy 500 winner

Motor racing legend Mario Andretti has decided he will not attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

Andretti escaped injury after crashing spectacularly on his return to the cockpit of an Indy car on Wednesday.

His car flipped several times at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after coming into contact with debris on the track.

Within 20 minutes of the crash Andretti was back in the garage area saying he still intended to practise and attempt to qualify for the 25 May race.

But after arriving home in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Andretti revealed on Thursday that he had changed his mind.

He said: "I've given it some thought. If I had an ongoing career, I would have no problem getting back in the car.

"All of a sudden, I have to start using at least an ounce of wisdom."

If I was just 20 years younger this is the team I would want to be working with
Mario Andretti

Andretti was back behind the wheel because of a number of injuries to regular drivers of the Andretti Racing team, run by eldest son Michael.

Tony Kanaan is sidelined with a broken wrist while Scotland's Dario Franchitti suffered a broken lower back in a motorcycle accident.

Kanaan, from Brazil, could still race in the Indy 500 but Franchitti has already been ruled out.

And that looked like opening the way for Andretti senior, who won the Indy 500 in 1969 and the Formula One world title in 1978.

But Andretti now says he wishes to continue enjoying his retirement.

"I'm not trying to rekindle my career, and what happened on Wednesday maybe was a signal that I should pay attention to.

"I had an incredibly satisfying day yesterday, and I'm very grateful to Michael and the Green team for giving me that opportunity."




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