Archive for September, 2015

“We are here to remember much more than the race car driver. We are here to celebrate a husband, a father, a friend, a role model,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said in opening remarks. “We are celebrating a man who left this community, this (INDYCAR) family much better than what it was when he first got here.”

On and off racetracks around the world, Wilson was an individual that everyone looked up to literally and figuratively. Several video presentations during the program highlighted Wilson’s career accomplishments, but more importantly featured his role in the life of his wife and two young daughters, the community and in motorsports.

His passion for racing, devotion to his family and humanity will be his legacy.

Wilson, who was diagnosed with the learning disorder dyslexia as a youth, often shared with school children at Verizon IndyCar Series venues how he adapted through assistance from family and teachers and through technology. He also was a regular and eager participant in Racing For Kids visits to children’s hospitals. With various race teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Formula One and sports car racing, he was an integral member counted on for his technical insights and his quick pace on the track. He also was heavily involved in Verizon IndyCar Series safety initiatives.

Wilson’s brother Stefan read a letter penned by his widow Julia, who was in attendance.

“Justin was a good man, father, husband and human being. My world has been turned upside down for now; I miss him every hour of every day,” she said in the letter. “Justin was mine and the girls’ hero. It has made me realize he was to everybody else, too.

“Not even I realized how big his heart was. By the way it is continuing to beat today makes me smile each time I think of him out there somewhere helping. Knowing that he lives on in others is a comfort.

“At bedtime, he used to read to the girls. I loved to watch him from the side trying his best to read well, knowing he was struggling with his dyslexia made me so proud that he even tried. Jane and Jess are missing their best friend, their climbing frame and the person that made them laugh when mummy was being grumpy.

“I don’t want people to be sad but be proud and happy that they knew him. Justin was definitely my one in a million. I am grateful for the time we had with Justin and will cherish every memory.”

In closing the program, four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon presided over a champagne toast in tribute to his friend and fellow competitor, with more than 600 additional glasses raised in the audience of the INDYCAR community.

“You’ll be forever in our hearts. We are the lucky ones,” he said.

Following the program, Julia Wilson said she has been overwhelmed by the “massive” support of the motorsports community and people around the world.

“The love, kindness and generosity is overwhelming. Some days I don’t feel we are deserving of such love,” she said. “I have an overwhelmingly massive family that I’ve just found out about and I’m very lucky. Everyone has my back. It’s brilliant and I’m proud to be a part of (the extended family).”

After the announcement of Wilson’s passing, there was an immediate outpouring of emotional and charitable support for Wilson’s family, which is ongoing via an online auction of racing, sports and entertainment memorabilia. Through Sept. 29, the auction on eBay has raised more than $350,000 for the Wilson Children’s Fund. Donations from the INDYCAR community raises the total to nearly $450,000.

A third wave of items up for bid, including a VIP experience to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race hosted by Team Penske and an NFL game-used football signed by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, were added to the eBay auction site Sept. 29. CLICK HERE to view and bid. New items are added weekly to the auction, which continues through Oct. 26.

Additionally, a limited edition reproduction of 50 signed and numbered prints of noted artist Bill Patterson’s original work depicting Wilson’s final Indy car victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012 – painted live Aug. 31 at the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration – are available by clicking HERE, with $100 of each print sold contributed to the fund.

Tribute T-shirts are available by clicking HERE, with proceeds also directed to the fund.

Contributions can be made directly to the fund by clicking HERE or by mail to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, PO Box 50738, Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738.

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29 September

Hello, and thank you again for your support of the Wilson Children’s Fund.

We wanted to reach out and make sure you knew that the Justin Wilson Memorial Celebration, a private event that will be hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, will be streamed live (4:00 PM,  ET) via www.indycar.com – Please join as some of Justin’s teammates, competitors, friends, and family will be a part of celebrating some cherished memories from their time with Wilson.

Additionally there is some news from the eBay auction that we wanted to pass along. With the first wave of helmet offerings having closed, there has been a new wave of driver suits, helmets, and other items now listed on the site http://ebay.to/1K1yiY5 — There will continue to be a new range of auction items becoming available, including some very reasonably priced options to come!

We are also pleased to let you know that now there is an easier way for folks in the UK to help out.

If you have an item that you feel would be an appropriate addition to the auction, please e-mail wilsonchildrensfund@gmail.com to find out information about what will be needed to go with the items and where to send them.

Thank you again for your time, support, and good wishes.

Wilson Children’s Fund

For Additional Information:

www.justinwilson.co.uk
www.wllsonchildrensfund.com
www.twitter.com/justin_wilson

Josef Newgarden knows the pressure is on.

A two-time IndyCar winner in 2015, Newgarden was hand-selected by Scott and Mark Borchetta of Big Machine Records to be their team’s pro driver for the third annual Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Race Honoring Justin Wilson.                                                                                                                                                                          
“The pressure is definitely on,” Newgarden said. “It’s big pressure. (Big Machine Records has) won Indy 500s and series championships. They’ve won this race two years in a row (with Marino Franchitti in 2013 and Tony Kanaan in 2014) and they called me and said we expect to win a third time.”                                                                
Newgarden will join some of INDYCAR’s biggest stars for the race, which will raise money for the Dan Wheldon Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association and Wilson Children’s Fund.                                                                                
Also among the pro drivers entered in the event, slated for Sept. 19 at New Castle Motorsports Park, are the drivers who claimed the last three Verizon IndyCar Series championships – Scott Dixon and Will Power; Verizon IndyCar Series race-winning drivers Marco Andretti, Ryan Briscoe, James Hinchcliffe and Ed Carpenter, 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves and newly crowned Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot. It will mark Hinchcliffe’s first time in a competitive racing setting since May.                                                                                     

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Gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free. All professional drivers competing in the event will participate in a public autograph session from 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. The 1-hour, 45 minute endurance go-kart race for teams comprised one professional driver and three amateur drivers begins at 12:45 p.m. (ET). 

The event has raised more than $165,000 to establish The Sue Wheldon Fund, which has supported a New Investigator Research Grant and early-stage programs of the Greater Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association as well as the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter’s care and support programs.

Professional drivers and sponsors scheduled to participate in this year’s event include: Newgarden (Big Machine Records); Dixon (Target); Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway); Andretti (Bell Helmets); Hinchcliffe (Novitec 1); Carpenter (Machine of Awesome); Chaves (American Honda), Sage Karam (Comfort Revolution); Sebastian Saavedra (Firestone 1);  Sarah Fisher (Firestone 2), Briscoe (Novitec 2); Jay Howard (Motorsports Graphic Designs), James Davison (Dan Wheldon Foundation/Bill Simpson 1); Pigot (Dan Wheldon Foundation/Bill Simpson 2); Jack Harvey (Performance Tire Service); Matthew Brabham (AFS/Stellricht).

“I’m hoping we get a lot of people out to New Castle Motorsports Park,” added Newgarden, who is also scheduled to compete in the Robo-Pong 200 event at NCMP on Sept. 20. “It’s such a cool event even though I’ve lost the last two years. You’ll see a lot of INDYCAR stars racing on Saturday and we do this every year to honor Dan (Wheldon), but this year we’re also honoring Justin and helping his family, so I hope everyone comes out.”

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INDIANAPOLIS (SEPTEMBER 15, 2015) For the first time ever, Racing For Cancer is pleased to announce an exclusive racing school event running December 7-9 2015 with partner Skip Barber Racing School at the world famous Laguna Seca Raceway on the Monterey Peninsula in California. This event will consist of two full days of on-track activity, including hot laps in Porsche 911’s, and instruction by special guest instructors Verizon IndyCar Series stars Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 Champion, and multiple IndyCar race winner, and fan favorite, James Hinchcliffe, as well as the Skip Barber Racing School instructors.

Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe will host a welcome cocktail reception and exclusive private dinners with the participants and their guests where they will experience the Monterey Bay and Carmel cuisine. Options include staying at the renowned Inn at Spanish Bay overlooking the Pacific Ocean and playing a full round of golf with Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course. With scenic views of Carmel Bay and the Pacific Ocean it is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

Ryan Hunter-Reay’s charity, Racing for Cancer, is well known for their ‘Yellow Party’ events that are staged several times each year coinciding with the Indianapolis 500 and other Verizon IndyCar Series races to raise funds supporting various cancer initiatives. With the addition of this new event, Racing for Cancer has expanded beyond its existing stand-out events.

Reserve your spot today at: www.RacingForCancer.com 

Download Waiver For Racing For Cancer …

About Racing for Cancer

Racing for Cancer is the non-profit organization founded by 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay following his mother’s passing from cancer. Since 2010, Racing for Cancer has been working towards its goal of bringing motorsports fans, teams, drivers, and sponsors together to join in the fight to beat cancer. Founded with the goal of beating cancer, Racing for Cancer, celebrated a successful 2014 as they reached and exceeded many of their goals. The non-profit’s greatest milestone to date came in November 2014 when Hunter-Reay and his family had the honor of presenting the Cleveland Clinic Florida Maroone Cancer Center with $2.5 million dollars. The generous donation made possible by top sponsor AutoNation, Inc. and donors nationwide took just four short years of fundraising. The Center’s lobby is named in memory of Hunter-Reay’s late mother, Lydia Hunter-Reay, who lost her battle with cancer in November of 2009.

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– To Participate in the Justin Wilson eBay Charity Auction …. CLICK HERE –
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— Rahal Sets Million-Dollar Goal for Auction to Benefit Wilson Family —
— Friends, Family Remember Wilson at Funeral —
— Verizon IndyCar Series Test at Road America Open to Public —
— Of Note — 

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Rahal Sets MillionDollar Goal for Auction to Benefit Justin Wilson Family

Graham Rahal has a lofty goal for an online auction to raise money for Justin Wilson’s family – bring in $1 million to the Wilson Children’s Fund. The eBay auction launched September 14th and there’s reason to believe the goal can be met.

The racing helmet of Wilson’s Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay pre-sold at a charity event during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race weekend August 28-30.

And though the nearly $25,000 that Hunter-Reay’s helmet brought to the fund won’t count toward Rahal’s million-dollar goal, the hope is that the sale of other race-used helmets from Verizon IndyCar Series drivers could bring as much, if not more, money to the cause. Wilson died August 24 from a head injury sustained in a race the day before.

As Rahal did following the death of fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon in 2011, he has partnered with eBay and online auction facilitator Auction Cause to conduct the online auction of all memorabilia, with proceeds going directly to the Wilson Children’s Fund.

Items signed by legends such as Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt were donated and teams and drivers throughout the racing world have pledged additional articles. Rahal reported on social media that Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is donating the firesuit he wore while driving to victory in the Sept. 6 Italian Grand Prix and F1 driver Jenson Button is donating his race-worn helmet from the event. A one-of-a-kind original painting of Wilson’s car by noted artist Bill Patterson will also be made available.

“There will be items up for auction you simply cannot buy or get access to anywhere else,” Rahal said.

Through eBay’s direct involvement, all transaction fees will be waived and all proceeds will be deposited into the Wilson Children’s Fund, which benefits Wilson’s wife, Julia, and daughters Jane and Jessica.

For auction updates or to contribute directly to the Wilson Children’s Fund, visit WilsonChildrensFund.com. Contributions may also be mailed to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, P.O. Box 50738, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250-0738.

Tribute T-shirts and decals, with proceeds also going to the fund, are available by CLICKING ON THIS LINK

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Friends, Family Remember Wilson at Funeral

The Union Jack-draped coffin of Justin Wilson was carried into St James the Great Church in Paulerspury, England, for a service September 10 attended by hundreds of family, friends and members of the international racing community, including reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, retired champion Dario Franchitti and Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart.

Wilson succumbed August 24 to a head injury sustained in a Verizon IndyCar Series race a day earlier. He was 37.

A poem by Wilson’s wife, Julia, entitled “Today I Washed You Away,” was read aloud during the service in which she wrote, “It’s not fair you had such a short life.”

Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer – Wilson’s former manager – delivered the eulogy, telling mourners that “Justin died doing something he loved. He wasn’t in denial about the risks.”

Following the service, a wake was held at the nearby Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. Wilson had moved to Northampton from his boyhood home in Sheffield to further his motorsports career. A memorial service in Indianapolis will be held later this month.

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Verizon IndyCar Series Test at Road America Open to Public

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Fans and media will have a chance to preview the return of Indy car racing to the historic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on September 22, as several teams from the Verizon IndyCar Series will take part in a test session.

The test is in advance of Indy car racing’s return to the revered road course for the Road America Grand Prix, June 23-26, 2016. Admission to the test session is $20, with 50 percent of every ticket sold going 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 and Fans will also be able to make additional contributions on site.

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The test session will run from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Fans can watch from many locations surrounding the 14-turn, 4-mile road course, however the paddock will be open only to the teams.

This will mark the only test session open to the public before race weekend in June. Teams scheduled to participate include AJ Foyt Racing, CFH Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske. A second test at Road America is scheduled for September 28.

To purchase tickets for the test session, visit www.roadamerica.com or call (800) 365-7223.

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Of Note

DES MOINES September 10, 2015 – Our good friend Jack “J.D.” Housby passed away today after a valiant battle with cancer.

Housby has been a friend of A.J. Foyt’s for over five decades but it was in the last two decades that their paths crossed more frequently and their friendship deepened. At Indianapolis, Housby often accompanied Foyt on the golf cart as the two rode out to pit lane and back. And while Foyt would duck into the garage, Housby would hold court outside of it as friends from all walks of life would stop by to chat with him. After attending 65 straight Indy 500s, he made a lot of acquaintances.

As the largest Mack Truck dealer in Iowa, Housby was a successful businessman who had a passion for racing. A fixture at the Knoxville Nationals, he owned teams in NASCAR and sponsored teams on every level, including our IndyCar team. He was a friend to the legends in IndyCar and NASCAR, and everyone seemed to know – and respect – Gentleman Jack Housby.

In lieu of a funeral (Jack disliked funerals and didn’t want one), the Housby family put together a terrific video — a celebration of Jack’s life which can be viewed below.  It is hosted by his three sons Kelly (left), Kevin (center) and Michael.

Indy will be a bit sadder for us next year—especially when we see that empty golf cart sitting outside Garage A1–but we know Jack will be riding with us in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500!

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– To Participate in the Justin Wilson eBay Charity Auction …. CLICK HERE –


Justin Wilson made a large and positive impact on the lives of thousands. His integrity, modesty, and kindness were unmatched. As a family man, and as a competitor, none were held in greater esteem. Justin’s positive attitude has been reflected in the way that the entire global racing community has quickly rallied behind the family of the late race car driver, along with fans, drivers, and other motorsports figures domestically and globally to create this one-of-a-kind eBay Giving Works auction. Among the items already offered up for auction are:

  • More than 16 helmets from IndyCar drivers who competed in the 2015 IndyCar Series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including winner and 2015 champion Scott Dixon’s helmet
  • Memorabilia from IndyCar, Formula One, NASCAR, USCC, WEC, GRC and other series
  • Stefan Johansson’s limited edition watch
  • Signed helmet from racing legend Mario Andretti
  • Roger Daltrey-signed microphone, which was used when The Who played Glastonbury in 2

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Sell your own items to support Justin Wilson’s family. Through 10/26, sellers who select the Graham Rahal Foundation as the beneficiary on the sell your item form will have all the proceeds from their successful sales provided to the Justin Wilson fund by Graham’s foundation. Additionally, fans can donate directly to the Wilson family fund at: http://justinwilson.co.uk/donate

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Funeral arrangements for Justin Wilson in England have been set for at 11:45am September 10th at St. James the Great Church in Paulersbury, Northamptonshire.

A reception will follow in Hall 5, The Wing at the Silverstone circuit.

Wilson succumbed August 24th to a head injury sustained in a race the previous day.

A memorial service in Indianapolis will be held later in the month. Details are forthcoming.

Numerous fund-raising initiatives for the Wilson family are ongoing, and the Justin Wilson Memorial Auction begins September 16th on eBay with helmets worn by Verizon IndyCar Series drivers in the August 30th race at Sonoma Raceway being auctioned first. Sign up for updates at www.wilsonchildrensfund.com

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Tribute T-shirts and stickers with the logo (right) are available for purchase online HERE.

Those wishing to contribute to the fund established electronically can do so HERE or via mail to:

Wilson Children’s Fund
c/o Forum Credit Union
PO Box 50738
Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738

UK-based supporters can send donations electronically HERE or via mail to:

John White Funeral Directors, Donations Wilson
188/190 Watling Street
Towcester, NN12 6DB

Following the Verizon IndyCar Series finale at Sonoma Raceway …. American Honda Motor Company and Honda Performance Development contributed $50 per lap completed in the race by each of the 13 Honda to the Wilson Children’s Fund, which totaled $53,950. With 1,179 tires used during the race weekend, Firestone donated $29,475 to the Wilson Children’s Fund.

Please keep supporting my Sonoma race helmet will also be auctioned later this month.

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The podium of Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Charlie Kimball hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma -- Image by Chris Jones

The podium of Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Charlie Kimball hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma — Image by Chris Jones

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Indianapolis, Indiana (September 2, 2015) – Bolstered by the most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series race ever on NBCSN for the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, INDYCAR telecasts on ABC and NBCSN posted an overall viewership increase of 16% in 2015 that included a 34% jump in NBCSN viewership.

The August 30th race at Sonoma Raceway, won by Scott Dixon to also secure the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship in a thrilling tiebreaker over Juan Pablo Montoya, averaged 841,000 viewers on NBCSN, according to The Nielsen Company. Viewership peaked at more than one million in the final full quarter hour. It was the most-watched cable telecast of a Verizon IndyCar Series race since NBCSN acquired the rights in 2009 and the highest cable viewership since the Richmond race on ESPN in 2008.

For the year, combining NBCSN and ABC telecasts, Verizon IndyCar Series races averaged 1.144 million viewers – an increase of 16% over 2014. That follows a 19% viewership surge in 2014 over the previous year.

Full-season ratings for all Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts improved 15% to a 0.76 average in 2015, following a 20% upsurge in 2014. NBCSN ratings improved 36% to a 0.34 average this season, on the heels of a 32% increase last year.

Over the past two years, INDYCAR has increased average TV ratings and viewership by 36% and 38%, respectively.

“More fans found a lot to like with the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2015 and the growth in television ratings and viewership reflect that,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Our TV audiences increased significantly as we approached the championship that went down to the very last lap. As it came down to the wire, motorsports fans were attracted by the thrilling racing and compelling rivalries.”

Viewership of NBCSN telecasts averaged 507,000 in 2015, an increase of 34%, following a 34% rise in 2014. Total viewership on both media partners in 2015 increased from the year before, even with two fewer events.

The Sonoma race broadcast showed a 123% increase in viewership from the 2014 race and marked the 3rd consecutive NBCSN telecast seen by more than 600,000 viewers, following the August 2nd race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the August 23rd event at Pocono Raceway.

In fact, the final six NBCSN race broadcasts of the season each yielded more than 500,000 viewers – a number more than the past six seasons on NBCSN combined – and five of those telecasts saw viewership increases of 66% or higher from the year before. The final six races of the season were six of the 10 most-viewed ever on NBCSN. The Mid-Ohio and Sonoma races set a new benchmark and were NBCSN’s two highest-viewed telecasts of the series.

Other Key 2015 Growth Indicators include

• NBCSN season-long coverage reached 6.409 million unique viewers, the highest total audience ever on the network for the Verizon IndyCar Series and a 47% increase from 2014.

• NBCSN viewership among key demographics improved substantially over 2014, with an increase of 32% among adults ages 18-49 and a 32% rise among adults 25-54.

• Viewership of ABC’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race increased 8% over 2014. Full-season viewership of ABC broadcasts improved 1%.

• In 2015, Verizon IndyCar Series television broadcast/cable ratings and viewership increased 15% and 16% respectively.

• 2015 was the 2nd consecutive year of overall viewership growth for INDYCAR. Since the 2013 season, INDYCAR has increased average TV ratings and viewership by 36% and 38%, respectively.

• 2015 was most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series season on NBCSN and the 3rd consecutive year of growth on the network. The final six telecasts of the season were six of the 10 most-viewed ever on NBCSN. The Mid-Ohio and Sonoma races set a new benchmark and were the two most viewed in the history of INDYCAR on NBCSN.

• This year’s season finale at Sonoma was the highest-rated and most-viewed race for INDYCAR on NBCSN since the network first aired Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2009. The audience for the Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma averaged 841,000 viewers peaking at more than one million viewers.