Andretti to tour military bases next year

Some overseas military personnel will be getting Indy-car rides with Mario Andretti early next year.

Andretti is joining a group of former and current open-wheelers touring bases in Europe and Southeast Asia in January as part of the Indy 500 Centennial Tour. The former Indy-car and Formula One series champion will take servicemen and women for rides in a two-seat race car.

"I've had the opportunity to visit bases around the world before," Andretti, a Nazareth, Pa., resident, said on a conference call. "It always gives you a great feeling to visit with the military, these young individuals that are serving our country and sacrificing in different ways.

"I'm a perfect example of living the American dream because I'm an immigrant," said Andretti, who emigrated to the United States from Italy when he was 15. "I fully realize what this country can provide for you. If you work hard enough, if you really believe in yourself, those opportunities are out there.

"I don't think in any way the American dream is dying. I don't think we can give up on that. If we do, it's shame on us."

-Bill Fleischman