20 February 2012

You are hired! Michael Andretti joins Celebrity Apprentice at last moment (Celebrities news headlines)

You are hired! Michael Andretti joins Celebrity Apprentice at last moment
Allentown Morning Call reported

In early October, word leaked out that Marco Andretti, grandson of racing legend and Nazareth resident Mario Andretti, would be joining the fifth season of Donald Trump's reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice."

The day before filming was set to begin, a horrific Oct. 16 accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway took the life of Marco's good friend and fellow driver, Dan Wheldon.

The 23-year-old Marco, already reeling from the death of his maternal grandfather days earlier, was so shaken by Wheldon's death that he was unable to appear on the show. Without a moment of hesitation, his father stepped in to take his place.

Now it is Michael Andretti, a Nazareth native and son of Mario, who is one of 18 celebrities who will face being "fired" by Trump when the season starts 9 p.m. Sunday on NBC.

"They still got an Andretti," says Michael, the third-winningest driver in IndyCar history with 42 victories.

He will face other celebrities — including American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken and Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno — trying to become Trump's apprentice on the show.

Michael was in Las Vegas eating dinner, when he got the call from NBC asking him to fill in for Marco.

"It was a very crazy deal the way it all came down," he recalls. "I knew Marco was in a tough place. He was a mess mentally and not able to go on the show. I wasn't prepared and I didn't want to do it but I had to. I knew how important is was to have someone represent IndyCar racing."

Michael left dinner and got on a red-eye flight to New York for the start of filming.
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