Watkins Glen Sunday Notebook
Andretti Autosport announced today that Team IZOD driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will run the rest of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season after a group of team sponsors stepped up to fund the effort.
The team also unveiled a new charitable initiative connected to Hunter-Reay's No. 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.
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.
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 all have rallied to keep Hunter-Reay on track in 2010.
The car will continue to sport the primary sponsor scheme of Team IZOD exception for the race Aug. 28 at Chicagoland Speedway and an event to be determined, where Ethanol USA will be the primary sponsor as it was June 20 at Iowa Speedway.
The "Racing For Cancer" program launched 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: "I've never seen anything like this. So many people pulling together to make things happen. Andretti Autosport and Michael (Andretti) have bent over backward to make things work, to keep me in the car. I'll never forget that. They worked endless hours to make this work. Tom (Vossman) is like an angel out of left field that came down. You can race and honor your mom. I also have to thank Michael Fux for his personal support and making the 'Racing For Cancer' program a reality. I was really close to my mom. Super-close. For all of this to come together, it was for the right reasons. Not only does it keep a race team going, it's going to benefit the frontlines in the battle against cancer. It's just an amazing system that's come up. All of the sponsors in this amazing team have contributed to make this happen. Even the best the teammate I've ever had, Tony Kanaan, made a contribution. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm so proud at the center of it. Now to be able to just show up, go race for the rest of the season, with the same team and the same people, it's a great time."
TONY KANAAN: "It was a great idea when I heard of it. He's been such a great teammate. I lost my dad when I was 13 years old to cancer. He battled really bad for four years, and I was by his side the whole time. I can relate to Ryan. When they came up with the program, I was thrilled." (To Hunter-Reay about Kanaan's $37,000 contribution to Racing For Cancer): "I'm your sponsor now, so you better respect me. Today, do not pass me, or I will pull that sponsorship out (laughter). This race team, it's not a race team. It's a family. It's the best place to be."