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Legendary driver talks Lamborghinis and potholes

Thursday - 4/3/2014, 2:36pm  ET

Mario Andretti with his 50th Anniversary Lamborghini Aventador. (WTOP/John Aaron)

ASHBURN, Va. -- Don't try anything crazy when pulling up next to a bright orange Lamborghini on a D.C. area roadway.

First, racing on public roadways is obviously illegal. Second, the driver of the exotic car has an obscene amount of horsepower at his disposal. Third, he could use every drop of that power, because he is Mario Andretti.

The man named Driver of the Century by the Associated Press drove himself to Ashburn, Va. from his home in Nazareth, Pa.

"It was a very enjoyable ride," says Andretti, who arrived in his bright orange, 50th Anniversary Lamborghini Aventador. "It was probably the first long trip for [the Lamborgini]."

"It's just the most sophisticated one they've had... it's over 700 horsepower, which I need a racetrack to just get the most out of."

Like the rest of us, though, the Indy and Daytona 500 champion watches for potholes.

"I had to watch, because (with) low profile tires, I could blow one… I had to really keep my eyes peeled for that."

Andretti's role as a brand spokesman for Firestone brought him to the Broadlands area in Ashburn to promote the newest location of Virginia Tire & Auto.

"I come in, try to make some noise, and it's always fun," he says.

Fans lined up in the parking lot, carrying hats, racing helmets and artwork for the legendary driver to autograph. Many arrived in flashy cars of their own.

Andretti, 74, says he finds race fans in every corner of the globe.

"I enjoy going to different venues and seeing if we can pull them out, and we always do," he says.

"I think it's the ultimate compliment if people come out to see you… It's always a heartwarming experience."

This is far from the 74-year-old's first trip to the area. Andretti says his experiences with the nation's capital go back to 1961, when he came for his honeymoon.

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