British Flag: Autographed by Nigel Mansell & Others (Mario Andretti, Carle Haas, Arie Luyendyk, David Letterman, Michel Jourdain Jr., Roberto Moreno)

Artist Unknown

I acquired this flag at the Mid-Ohio Raceway in 1993. The year 1993 marked Nigel Mansell’s first year in the Championship Auto Racing Team series (CART), currently known as Champ Car or Indy Car racing, and the year he won the CART Indy Car World Series, the first person to do so in his debut year. He had won the Formula One World Championship one year prior.

On the day I bought this flag, Mario Andretti, Nigel’s teammate at the time, was selling signature Andretti collectables from a large truck, next to which was a card table with a few Nigel Mansell items. This flag was spread over that table like a table cloth with those few objects over it. I asked for the price of the flag and they sold it to me for fifteen dollars.

Later that day, I spotted Nigel getting out of his car after a practice lap. He saw the flag and invited me to have a drink with him, after which he signed it for me. As I walked through the paddock afterwards, Arie Luyendyk saw the flag and asked if he could also sign it. At that point, I was on a roll and managed to get various other signatures.

The one autograph I never got was Paul Newman’s. I had coffee with him after a race in 2000 and he told me he didn’t sign items in public. The nice chat I had with him that day, however, was worth much more than an autograph.