Welcome lunch with guest speaker, Mario Andretti, world champion racing driver

interviewed by Brent Musburger, ABC sports commentator

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Session recap

Special IPO session at the Strategic Growth Forum 2012

Mario Andretti drives home the value in teamwork

As one of the most celebrated race car drivers in history, Mario Andretti has had the career of three men. Name the competition, and he’s won it, from the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 to the Formula One World Championship. He’s driven every kind of car around every kind of track, making him the best person to rev up the crowd during the opening luncheon for the Strategic Growth Forum 2012. 

But during his interview with ABC sports commentator Brent Musburger before a roomful of entrepreneurs and business leaders who strive to be market leaders, the racing icon stressed the importance of teamwork. The driver gets the recognition, but the crew wins the race. “The driver is either the hero or the goat. He’s the only one that stands on the podium if he wins, and the one that gets blamed if he doesn’t,” Andretti said. “We win or lose with the team.”

The same is true in business. It’s important to surround yourself with specialists. “A good leader surrounds him or herself with the best people you can find,” he said.

It’s equally important to mentor those team members, and Musburger asked the sports legend how he improves people who demonstrate potential. Andretti replied that it’s easy to spot a person with an earnest commitment to the job. “That individual deserves to be groomed,” he said.

Andretti also talked about the importance of knowing the competition. “Almost every decade has somebody that sets the benchmark,” he said.

So what do you do?

You have to aim to do one better, according to Andretti. If you go into the race content to rank in the top 5, he contended, you’ll probably rank 15th. “You just have to have the mindset to get it done,” he said.

Mario Andrettispacer Mario Andretti
World champion racing driver

He won just about everything: the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the Formula One World Championship and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. He’s a four-time IndyCar national champion and a three-time winner at Sebring. He crossed the finish line first in sports cars, sprint cars and stock cars — on ovals, road courses, drag strips, on dirt and on pavement. In fact, he won at nearly every level of racing after arriving in America from his native Italy at age 15. Assessing Mario Andretti’s legacy is easy. He drove the careers of three men. He drove with a passion and joy that few have equaled — and he won. Mario took the checkered flag 111 times during his career — a career that stretched five decades. And he was competitive for all those years. He was named Driver of the Year in three decades (the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s), Driver of the Quarter Century in the ’90s and Driver of the Century in January 2000. Mario retired from full-time competition at the end of 1994. Now a successful businessman off the track, he serves as spokesman, associate and friend to top executives around the world.

Brent MusburgerspacerBrent Musburger
ABC sports broadcaster

Brent Musburger, one of the most versatile and talented broadcasters in the industry, joined ABC Sports in 1990. Since joining ABC, Brent has handled the Little League Baseball World Series, college basketball, NBA, college football, MLB, NFL playoff games, Monday Night Football halftimes, PGA coverage, world figure skating and the network's world track and field events. In announcing Brent's arrival, ABC said: “We are pleased to add Brent Musburger to a lineup of announcers that we believe is the best in television. Brent has demonstrated enormous ability in a wide variety of sports, which makes him ideally suited to maintain and enhance our presentation of ABC Sports' growing program schedule.” Prior to coming to ABC Sports, Brent was a member of the CBS Sports announcer team from 1975. He anchored The NFL Today pre-game, halftime and post-game NFL broadcasts. Additionally, he was the lead play-by-play announcer for the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. Brent also hosted CBS Sports Saturday/Sunday, the US Open tennis championships, the NBA Finals, the Masters Tournament and the Pan American Games.