Mario Andretti and Neal Schon: 2 Legends meet - exchange gifts - and Neal Schon gets the ride of his life

May 23, 2015, 16:45 ET from Schon Productions

INDIANAPOLIS, May 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading up to the big Memorial Day Weekend Indianapolis 500, a lot of magic takes place before that actual flag goes down, and magic it was for Journey's Neal Schon who took the ride of his life Friday with longtime hero, Mario Andretti, a gift given him by his wife Michaele Schon.

Neal Schon said, "It was the most exhilarating experience I've ever had. I've watched Mario since I was a kid at my Grandmother's house (Pauline Gulli) with my uncles, aunts and cousins. Meeting and driving with Mario was a thrill of a lifetime that my wife Michaele (Real Housewives) set up for me as a birthday gift February 27th.  Well, yesterday it happened!

"When Michaele and I arrived at the Indianapolis Hotel, Mario and some of his family and close friends met us in the lobby. He couldn't have been more gracious and kind. It made me recall all the good times I had with my mom's Italian side of the family. We clicked."

About the driving experience, Neal Schon stated, "Like no other I'm sure that I will ever experience in a lifetime, it was amazingly insane. I loved it but honestly thought, oh my God, how can he drive so effortless, amazing and at such high speeds? I couldn't help thinking what it would be like to be in a race with so many other cars - accidents, everything that happens in real high-speed races like this, truly not an easy gig. They have to love it.

"Before we went on the track, we exchanged gifts and I gave him one of my PRS NS-14 guitars and wrote him a personal note on top of the guitar. He gave me one of his Mario Andretti winning racing suits.

"All and all, a thrilling time I'll never forget! He insisted my wife get in the car after me to share the experience!

"I met so many other great drivers and people affiliated with the Indy 500 and they all want Journey to play next year for the 100th anniversary celebration. I'm on it! Loved it and will play our National Anthem next year if Journey does play. Fingers crossed until then."

This ride of a lifetime with Mario Andretti is just one more amazing adventure in a string of main events for the iconic founding member of Journey.  Schon just wrapped up a month long residency with Journey at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and has a new solo album, "Vortex" coming out internationally on June 22nd and in the U.S. on June 23rd.  Fittingly, Vortex is a nickname that Carlos Santana gave to Neal because his music is so powerful and pulls you right in.  There couldn't be a more descriptive title for Neal Schon's newest solo release and for the "powerful" year he is having personally and professionally. 

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SOURCE Schon Productions