INDYCAR News and Notes – Sept. 21, 2015

1. Reigning Champ Dixon Heads List of Drivers for Road America Test
2. Last-Lap Pass Carries Dixon’s Team to Wheldon Pro-Am Victory
3. Bidding Ends Soon for Helmets Benefiting Wilson Children’s Fund
4. Holmatro Safety Team to Instruct First Responders
5. Mann’s Pink Komen Diecast Model Available for Purchase

1. Reigning Champ Dixon Heads List of Drivers for Road America Test: Three weeks after completing the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a scintillating victory at Sonoma Raceway, reigning champion Scott Dixon is really looking forward to his first on-track outing in preparation for 2016.

Dixon will be joined Sept. 22 by nine other Verizon IndyCar Series drivers on the 4.048-mile Road America course in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for a team test open to the public and media. INDYCAR announced in August that the Road America Grand Prix on June 23-26would be part of the 2016 schedule. Road America, which held its first race in 1955, hosted Indy car races from 1982-2007.


American Muscle

“I’m excited to go back. It’s one of the old-school American tracks that reminds me a little bit of Watkins Glen with the style of racing,” said Dixon, who claimed his fourth driver’s title Aug. 30 with a series-high third victory of the season in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. “We’ll work through a lot of things so when we come back next year we’ll be prepared to challenge for the win.”

Dixon’s teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball, will also participate in the test, along with AJ Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato, CFH Racing’s Josef Newgarden, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

The test session, which runs from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, with driver media availabilities occurring during the lunch break. Admission for the public is $20, with $10 of each ticket sold donated to the Wilson Children’s Fund to benefit the family of the late Justin Wilson. Road America season pass holders will be admitted with a $10 donation to the fund. To purchase advance tickets, visit www.roadamerica.com or call (800) 365-7223.

2. Last-Lap Pass Carries Dixon’s Team to Wheldon Pro-Am Victory: Scott Dixon saved his best for last again. The New Zealander, who claimed his fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship last month, went from fifth to first on the final lap to win the third annual Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge Honoring Justin Wilson on Sept. 19 at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park.

“We definitely didn’t have the fastest kart,” said Dixon, who teamed with Andrew Drake, Michael Bizzell and Nathaniel Borden in the No. 9 Target-sponsored kart. “We just kind of kept it clean, working with a few guys and just got lucky there at the end. There were some fast karts there, but obviously they were worried about each other and didn’t see us coming around the outside. It worked out pretty good.”

The race, shortened to a one-hour endurance event due to earlier rain, featured 17 four-person pro-am teams headed by veterans of the Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy. The pro drivers each took the wheel for the all-important final 15 minutes.

The biggest winners were the three charities that benefited from the event – The Dan Wheldon Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association and Wilson Children’s Fund, which will share the proceeds totaling nearly $50,000.

“We all want to win here,” Dixon said, “but just being part of the race is the biggest part. With everyone out here and supporting means the most to us. It’s fun to hang out with everybody. Dan (Wheldon) was a huge personality and it was great to honor him and Justin (Wilson) as well.”

Dixon followed up the Wheldon pro-am victory by teaming the next day with fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden to finish second in the 12th annual RoboPong 200 kart race at New Castle. Dixon and Newgarden finished 47 seconds behind the team of Jake Donald and Brandon Jones. They were the only two karts to complete all 200 laps in the endurance race that took nearly 3 hours, 45 minutes.

Other Verizon IndyCar Series drivers competing included Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, James Davison, Sage Karam and Will Power, plus 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot and Pro Mazda runner-up Neil Alberico.

3. Bidding Ends Soon for Helmets Benefiting Wilson Children’s Fund: Online bidding for the first batch of eBay auction items to benefit the Wilson Children’s Fund – consisting of 20 driver-worn racing helmets, including the one used by Scott Dixon when he drove to victory in the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma that clinched his fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship – ends this week.

Bidding on the signed Dixon helmet concludes at 9:20 p.m. ET Sept. 22. Bidding ends at approximately 9 p.m. ET Sept. 24 on the other 19 helmets, including those of championship runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti when he drove the Honda “Fastest Seat in Sports” two-seat Indy car this season.

Additional groups of racing and other rare memorabilia – including items donated by Formula One, NASCAR, United SportsCar Championship, World Endurance Challenge and Global Rallycross drivers, as well as people from the entertainment industry – will be posted for bidding until the auction’s conclusion Oct. 26. To view and bid on items, visithttp://stores.ebay.com/Celebrity-Charity-Auctions/Justin-Wilson-Memorial.

All proceeds from the auction go directly to the Wilson Children’s Fund to benefit the family of Justin Wilson, who died Aug. 24 from a head injury sustained in a race the day before. Fans who sell their own Wilson-related items on eBay can designate the Graham Rahal Foundation as their chosen charity and proceeds will also be donated to the fund.

Additionally, a limited-edition reproduction of 50 signed and numbered prints of noted artist Bill Patterson’s original Wilson painting that he created live at the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration are available at http://billpatterson.com/justin-wilson-memorial-print, with $100 of each print sold contributed to the Wilson Children’s Fund. The original painting depicting Wilson’s final Indy car victory in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway will be part of the ongoing eBay auction.

To contribute directly to the Wilson Children’s Fund, visit http://justinwilson.co.uk/donateor mail a check to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, P.O. Box 50738, Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738.

4. Holmatro Safety Team to Instruct First Responders: Members of INDYCAR’s Holmatro Safety Team will apply their expertise attending to racetrack incidents to everyday situations when they train first responders in two cities in coming weeks.

Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR’s director of medical services and a member of the Holmatro Safety Team, will discuss medical trauma response to first responders in Brentwood, Tenn., on Sept. 25-26. Dr. Andrew Stevens, a Holmatro Safety Team physician, will discuss the same subject to first responders in St. Louis on Oct. 1-2.

In addition, Holmatro Safety Team members will provide instruction in both cities on extrication techniques from newer vehicles whose safety features can sometimes make extrication hazardous for first responders.

The Holmatro Safety Team consists of nearly 30 safety personnel – physicians, nurses, paramedics and firefighter/EMTs – who attend every INDYCAR event and tend to the well-being of drivers and team personnel.

5. Mann’s Pink Komen Diecast Model Available for Purchase: A limited run of Pippa Mann’s new pink-and-white Susan G. Komen diecast model Indy cars is available for purchase at a variety of online retailers. Only 1,000 were made and more than a quarter of those are spoken for.

The diecast is a 1:18 model of the Verizon IndyCar Series car Mann drove for Dale Coyne Racing in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, the first race of her partnership with Komen, an international non-profit organization dedicated to ending breast cancer. Since then, Mann has become a spokesperson for the organization and used her Indianapolis 500 runs to raise money for Komen. She raised more than $60,000 for the cause during the 2015 Indianapolis 500.

“We’re getting interest both from people invested in the cause the car is championing,” Mann said, “and from little girls who don’t understand the message behind the car, but who love the pink car just for itself. Hopefully, we’ll sell them out.”

 


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