Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti was in Napa, California, when a massive earthquake hit early Sunday morning.

The Northampton County native said it was his wildest ride yet, and that includes all of his racetrack crashes.

"It was the most horrifying experience I have ever had in my life," said Andretti, whose hotel was just six miles from the epicenter of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake.

It's the strongest quake to rock northern California in a quarter-century. Andretti, 76, was sound asleep when it hit around 3 a.m.

"It sounded like a locomotive coming or big thunder," Andretti said.  "It shook me literally out of bed."

Everything around him seemed to rumble, too.

"The room was just shambles, glass all over, and tiles off the walls," Andretti said.  "People screaming, crying. It was a mess."

Andretti said he quickly grabbed his belongings and left the hotel. He spent the next three hours sitting in his rental car. During that time, he felt two aftershocks.

All around him, buildings were cracked, collapsed and burned.  Gas and water lines were also ruptured by the impact.

When day break came, Andretti started driving to the Sonoma Raceway, where he had scheduled rides. On the way, he navigated around a highway that literally split apart.

"There was a big heave in the road, where it separated, like you see in the movies. Oh gosh, it was so scary," Andretti said.

That road was later closed, according to Andretti.

While wineries in the region suffered serious damage, Andretti said his winery made out just fine.

"Obviously, we lost a lot of wine, everything on the shelves, but it was not a catastrophe there," Andretti said.

The state's governor has declared a state of emergency. Cleanup efforts are well underway, but Andretti is already back home.

"I'll never forget, never forget as long as I live,"  Andretti said. "I am happy to be home."

Major earthquake rattles Northern California

Published: Aug 24 2014 11:36:55 AM EDT   Updated On: Aug 25 2014 06:39:39 AM EDT

The biggest earthquake since 1989 hit the San Francisco Bay Area early Sunday, damaging homes and businesses and leaving thousands without power.

Northern California earthquake
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A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Northern California early Sunday. It was the strongest to hit the Bay Area since 1989, when a quake struck during the World Series.