Michael Andretti, descendant of the world famous auto racing family of Mario Andretti, found himself fired unexpectedly by Donald Trump, the host of Celebrity Apprentice. Playing the game with the hopes of winning for a cancer charity, the race car driver lost an automotive challenge when he failed to post in the drivers seat. Letting comedian Adam Carolla take the wheel as project manager on a challenge to launch a marketing campaign for a new Buick was a costly mistake for the competitor. The men’s team lost the challenge to the ladies after Carolla’s comedy offended auto executives. But Andretti did not (technically) botch anything — so why did Trump send him packing early?
Former Champion Auto Racing Teams (CART) and Formula One race car driver, Michael Andretti, competed on the 2012 season of Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by business magnate Donald Trump. Andretti, son of Mario Andretti, one of the most successful drivers in American champion auto racing, owns Andretti Autosports in the IndyCar Series. He was also one of the first men fired from the men’s team on the reality TV series.
The show aired on NBC Sunday night, and Andretti was sent home early March 11th when he disappointed Buick auto executives by giving the lead on a marketing project to car show host Adam Carolla. But get this — the race car driver was never supposed to be on the show to begin with; he took the gig as a favor to his son who was in mourning after a race car crash that killed friend Dan Whedon unexpectedly.
Andretti was there hoping to win the $250,000 prize for his charity, Racing for Cancer. The charity aims to raise awareness and help raise funds for research to find a cure. Cancer affects an estimated 28 million people worldwide and is one of the most insidious health conditions and life threatening diseases known to man. Michael Andretti knows the threat personally. The mother of one of his racers died, prompting Andretti to help start the charity, according to Fox8 news. Racing for Cancer founder Tom Vossman recently completed a 2800 mile bike ride to raise awareness. That’s one mile for every 10,000 victims of the disease.
As a 501(c)(3) organization, Vossman founded Racing for Cancer to unite fans and professionals and motorsports racing to help fund various research and support organizations toward finding more effective treatments and ultimately a cure for cancer. Vossman says one hundred percent of the organization’s net proceeds go to funding prevention, early detection, and treatments.
As one of the premier names in the motorsports world, Michael Andretti has lent his name and fame to the organizations stated motto: “Helping Pick Up the Pace… One Fan at a Time!” And Andretti knows a little something about owning and operating a business. His ORG home organization solutions is dedicated to organizing and putting a fresher face on both garage and home.
That’s why Donald Trump claimed he and the execs from Buick were so shocked that Andretti did not step up and claim the project manager position for the auto marketing challenge. After all, what could have been a bigger coup for him than winning a challenge related to cars rather than letting bully Adam Carolla take the lead — or a better free press op for Buick?
That’s the real reason Michael Andretti was kicked off early — because he pretended that he was not qualified to lead a team or participate in marketing an automotive product. Since he’d already given quotes like the one below, his deferring to Carolla seemed more like a tactic employed that would exempt him from really participating.
WFSB Eyewitness News reported:
“Our garage was a mess, and our stuff was all over the place. Not only did we need to get our things in order, we wanted to do it with style. It was important to me and my wife, Jodi, that our garage could reflect the same level of style as the rest of our home,” said Michael Andretti.
Can’t understand what it means to appreciate the aesthetic balance of an automobile or to sell it as something you spend time in as an environment, Michael? Don’t know how to organize a project, hire and manage staff, or work together with a team to set a tone for a presentation? Viewers did not buy the argument. Neither did Donald Trump, leading him to fire both comic Adam Carolla for simply being himself and Andretti for failing to rise to the challenge that could have benefited the car company and won money for his charity.
So it still comes as a surprise that Andretti can’s figure out why Trump cut him from the men’s team. Huffington Post reports, “Andretti was still baffled at how harshly Donald and Ivanka Trump criticized his team for allocating its personnel incorrectly. “I still don’t understand the logic 100%. I thought we were judged on how we did the task, but we were judged because we didn’t use people in the right positions … I didn’t understand the logic there,” he lamented. ” The driver appeared for a celebrity interview on Good Day New York the morning after the show aired.
But Racing for Cancer is not Andretti’s only humanitarian and charitable activity — so he probably did not feel too bad about losing. In 2003, he was featured in America’s Athletes Charity Book along with other star celeb names like boxer Evander Holyfield, track and field star Marion Jones, and Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon. He also was on hand for Breakfast with the Fans at several racetracks, raising over $8,000 for charity during those events.That means Andretti is likely to help the group raise funds even if he was not going to get them from Donald Trump or the folks at Celebrity Apprentice. [At least we hope he will follow through by helping them with future fund raising.]
It was simply unfortunate that the rather shy and reserved race car driver got kicked off the show so early, but we understand why Trump fired him early. After all, watching other players like Lou Ferrigno (the deaf actor who played the Incredible Hulk on TV), Arsenio Hall (the former late night talk show host who everyone is trying to figure out if he is gay or not now), and Dee Snyder (the rock star who injured his hand while filming the Medieval segment of Celebrity Apprentice) act as project managers will be far more entertaining.