Karting Event To Honor Dan Wheldon
INDIANAPOLIS – Drivers from various racing backgrounds will come together on Oct. 26 to compete in The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge at New Castle Motorsports Park.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause Wheldon fought to raise awareness for after his mother was diagnosed with the illness in 2008.
“The Alzheimer’s Ass’n and its Greater Indiana Chapter are honored to be the recipients of proceeds raised through The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge,” said Heather Hershberger, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “It’s a fitting tribute as Dan was a great champion of our work and took great interest in the programs for individuals in the early-stages of the disease. While saddened that Alzheimer’s has personally touched his family, we are inspired by this generous and moving tribute.”
The challenge will consist of 12 corporate sponsored teams in a timed 2-hour race beginning at 12:30 p.m. Each team will have one pro driver paired with three amateurs. Gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free. The pro drivers will also take part in an autograph session before the start of the race.
“I’m thrilled to be taking part in this race,” said James Hinchcliffe, who will be driving for the Firestone-sponsored team. “It’s such a cool way to do it, by combining two of Dan’s passions, karting and Alzheimer’s awareness. I’m honored to get to participate.”
The challenge will be part of the RoboPong race weekend, an endurance event Wheldon loved to compete in during the off-season. In fact, Wheldon was often seen in the go-kart paddock competing in various races during his downtime from the IndyCar Series.
“An event like this is just great because we’re continuing to carry the flame of something he started,” said Alex Tagliani, who will be the pro driver for the IMS-sponsored team. “And it’s karting. I definitely had the chance to spend some time karting at the Florida Winter Tour with him. I know it was a location where we hang out in the winter to have fun away from the serious business and so karting always makes me remember him and this even more. I’m so glad to take part in it.”
Drivers and sponsors were quick to sign up for the race when asked to participate by Wheldon’s widow Susie, including three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti, who was also a teammate of Wheldon during the start of his IndyCar career.
“I’m really looking forward to competing in the race,” said Franchitti who will be driving for Big Machine Records. “It’ll be fun to get back in a kart for the first time in a long time and most importantly to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, something which Dan was so passionate about.”