Hunter-Reay gets ride for rest of year
Andretti Autosport announced today that Team IZOD driver Ryan Hunter-Reay is set to run the remainder of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season after a group of team sponsors stepped up collectively to fund the effort.
|(L to R) John Lopes, Tom Vossman, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michal Fux and Starke Taylor pose after the announcement|
In addition to confirming Hunter-Reay's full-season participation, the team also unveiled a new charitable initiative connected to the #37 entry called "Racing For Cancer." The program, which was developed by Tom Vossman - chief executive officer of team sponsor Inland Industrial Services Group - will raise money for cancer research and other charitable causes in honor of Hunter-Reay's mother, Lydia, who lost her battle with colon cancer in November 2009.
Although Hunter-Reay was originally slated to run only a partial schedule with primary sponsorship from Phillips-Van Heusen and its IZOD brand, Andretti Autosport continued to seek additional funding to grow the program to fulltime status. A season-opening runner-up finish in Sao Paulo increased interest in Hunter-Reay's situation and then a dominating race win at the Grand Prix of Long Beach - a win he dedicated to the memory of his mother - drove awareness even higher and prompted the team's sponsor family to rally behind the effort.
During the past several weeks, a number of Andretti Autosport partners have collaborated on a series of marketing and business-to-business deals which have galvanized Team IZOD from a part-time effort to a fulltime team capable of competing for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Hunter-Reay enters today's series event at Watkins Glen ranked seventh in points, just 49 points behind the leader, Will Power.
In addition to the efforts of Phillips-Van Heusen and its IZOD brand, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inland, AirTran Airways, Comfort Revolution, The Michael Fux Foundation, Exel and ICM-Ethanol USA have all rallied to keep Hunter-Reay on track in 2010.
The car will continue to sport the primary sponsor scheme of Team IZOD with the exception of a race at Chicagoland Speedway and an event to-be-determined where Ethanol USA will spearhead Andretti Autosport's mission to promote U.S.-produced corn ethanol, just as it did at Iowa Speedway two weeks ago.
The "Racing For Cancer" program officially launches today at www.racingforcancer.org and will raise funds during the remainder of the 2010 season and beyond. Those funds will be donated primarily to two national charities - The Michael Fux Foundation and LIVESTRONG - and will drive marketing, promotional and awareness campaigns in support of The Michael Fux Foundation and its beneficiaries.
The Michael Fux Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars through its existing charity work, champions numerous causes including Down's Syndrome, autism, cancer and heart diseases. The foundation works extensively with Miami Children's Hospital, which last fall unveiled the new Michael Fux Family Center, and also with the Children's Cancer Caring Center and "Operation Smile," among many others. The foundation will focus the "Racing For Cancer" funds on children who are unable to afford cancer treatment, primarily in the Miami area.
As part of their support for Hunter-Reay and Team IZOD's car number "37," and in honor of Hunter-Reay's mother, a number of Andretti Autosport team sponsors have committed to making $37,000 donations to "Racing For Cancer."
The first official donation to the effort was made by Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, who is also putting forth $37,000.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, DRIVER, #37 TEAM IZOD CAR:
"I can't even begin to describe my sense of relief, appreciation and excitement as we look forward to a complete season while challenging for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. So many different people, organizations, companies and partners pulled together to make this a reality and I have to thank them for their belief in me.
"Andretti Autosport and Michael Andretti have been so supportive in so many ways. They have really dug deep to not only get me and the #37 car on track this season, but to keep it there. As I've been saying all along, this team is incredibly good at what it does and that's why we've not only won together already, but we are now making it a full-season effort.
"I really have to thank IZOD, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, ICM-Ethanol USA, Inland, Exel and IES for stepping up in support of this program. This is a total team effort and we couldn't have done it without every one of them.
"I am honored to announce my new position as global ambassador for 'Racing For Cancer.' Thanks to Tom Vossman and his endless dedication for the cause, I am able to complete the 2010 season and race in honor of my mother, Lydia, who recently passed away due to cancer. The 'Racing For Cancer' Platform has endless opportunity in not only raising awareness but contributing to the fight on the front lines of the battle against this terrible disease, which affects so many of us.
"I also have to thank Michael Fux for his personal support and making the 'Racing For Cancer' program a reality."
JOHN LOPES, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT:
"We are thrilled that Team IZOD and Ryan Hunter-Reay are now fulltime family members of Andretti Autosport. We are humbled by the generous support of all our sponsors, but particularly by IZOD, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, ICM-Ethanol USA, Inland Industrial Services Group, AirTran Airways, The Michael Fux Foundation, Exel and IES for their staunch support of Ryan, our team and its charitable efforts.
"We want to thank Michael Fux and Tom Vossman for serving as inspirations for the 'Racing For Cancer' platform."
TOM VOSSMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, INLAND INDUSTRIAL SERVICES GROUP, AND FOUNDER, RACING FOR CANCER:
"We are excited to be part of such a worthwhile cause - to not only contribute to these good charities, but to also help promote the global cancer awareness campaign to all the fans, sponsors and their employees. I could not be more proud to have Ryan as our global ambassador and to launch this effort in memory of his mother, Lydia."
MICHAEL FUX, THE MICHAEL FUX FOUNDATION:
"I am very happy to help further Ryan Hunter-Reay's career with this team and to play a role with the 'Racing For Cancer' program. There is no greater feeling than helping children in need and this is another opportunity for me to do that."
STARKE TAYLOR, VICE PRESIDENT OF SPONSORSHIP AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PHILLIPS-VAN HEUSEN:
"It seems very appropriate that the backdrop for this announcement be Watkins Glen over the 4th of July weekend as it was here two years ago that the seeds for this moment were planted.
"Ryan Hunter-Reay and Team IZOD have become popular players in this series, and we're confident that the public will rally around the 'Racing For Cancer' initiative and allow all of us to make an impact that reaches far beyond the footprint of the IZOD IndyCar Series."