Beards, Booze, and Bacon: Interview with Mario Andretti

beards booze and bacon greg nibler mario andretti
Greg Nibler/Instagram

Have you ever experienced open-wheel racing? Simply put, it’s the sport of driving really, really fast in a car with wheels on the outside of its body. And when we say “really, really fast,” we mean it — drivers regularly top 200 mph. The spectacle alone is amazing to behold, but it’s something else entirely to be in the car.

Greg Nibler — host Beards, Booze and Bacon, The Manual’s weekly podcast — was invited out to the Grand Prix of Portland the weekend of August 31 through September 2 for a quick jaunt inside of an IndyCar. No big deal.

If that wasn’t enough, Nibler also got a chance to sit down with the one-and-only Mario Andretti.

While he needs no introduction, we’re going to give you one anyways. Andretti is a legendary race car driver turned leader of Andretti Autosport, a team of badass racers that compete in a variety of open-wheel racing leagues. From his unique vantage point behind the wheel (and on top of the winner’s podium), the 78-year-old icon has witnessed the evolution of the sport over decades, competing in everything from Formula 1 to IndyCar to NASCAR. In fact, he can be partially credited with the uptick in racing popularity here in the United States.

Andretti is best-known for his work in the driver’s seat, but Greg is more accustomed to a seat behind a microphone. How did he hold up to the insane speeds on the track?

Well, at least he did better than his performance against Zach Veach and Dalton Kellet, professional drivers for Andretti Autosport, when The Manual crew challenged them to a race — a Mario Kart race, that is.

Spoiler alert: None of the Beards, Booze, and Bacon folks are that good at the game.

The Verizon IndyCar and Indy Lights series already wrapped up for 2018, but you can check the 2019 schedules and get prepared for plenty of fuel-powered fun next year. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest (like most of The Manual crew), we’ll see at the Portland Grand Prix when it returns in the fall.

If you have a question for The Manual podcast crew, give us a shout at — we’re always around! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and keep an eye out for our weekly podcast polls so you can join the discussion. You can also follow Dalton (Instagram and Twitter), Zack (Instagram and Twitter), and Mario himself (Instagram and Twitter) to stay up to speed (pun intended) on what they’re doing.

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