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John Andretti at Brickyard steering money toward favorite charity

By Doug Wright, WFMZ.com Contributor
Published On: Jul 24 2013 10:00:53 AM CDT
John Andretti in Indianapolis

John Andretti in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -

Having just turned 50 this year, John Andretti is no longer driving a race car full time, but don't call him "retired."

Speaking Tuesday night after his charity event in suburban Indianapolis, Race for Riley, Mario Andretti's nephew wanted to make that perfectly clear.

"I'm not retired. People say things. I guess I'm going through the same thing my uncle went through at one point. People assume that since you're not racing all the time, you're retired."

John Andretti certainly has the pedigree and credentials for a return to competitive racing. He has won races in NASCAR (where he's had 393 Cup starts), CART, IMSA GTP, and the Rolex Sports Car series.

However, his last major race was the 2011 Indianapolis 500 when he finished 23rd racing for Andretti Enterprises on a team that included Marco Andretti (cousin Michael's son) and Danica Patrick, who both finished in the top ten that year.

Andretti added he's not working on anything in particular at the moment.

"I'm not going to race anything full time. What I might do is a spot of races here and there. What I'd still like to do is one more Indy, and we'll see how that plays out."

One thing keeping John busy is his charitable work for the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Tuesday night, he got behind the wheel racing amateur go-kart drivers in the 17th annual Kroger Race for Riley presented by Cheerios.

He didn't just race. Earlier last week, John visited children at the hospital.

Monday night, there was a progressive dinner held at the downtown Westin hotel which included samples from such famous Indianapolis restaurants as St. Elmo's Steakhouse and Dawson's on Main.

"I've been at it for 17 years, and we love doing it, we really enjoy doing it. Hopefully we'll be able to do it for however how long."

Last year's Race for Riley even raised almost $300,000 for the children's hospital. This year's haul is expected to be even better, but Andretti said they won't know for sure until all the contributions are added up some time in mid-August.

While it may currently be difficult to see what the future holds for John's racing career, his off the track efforts are clearly improving the futures of sick children in the Indianapolis area.

For more information on Andretti's charity, please visit www.race4riley.com.