Big names to participate in Wheldon karting event A week after dueling for the Firestone Indy Lights championship at Auto Club Speedway in California, Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves will be karting teammates in the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park.
The timed 2-hour race Oct. 26 beginning at 12:30 p.m. (ET) features INDYCAR drivers, team owner Bryan Herta and special guests comprising teams competing on the one-mile serpentine circuit. Admission is free and competitors will participate in an autograph session at 11:45 a.m.
Also, a silent auction will include a karting suit worn and signed by Wheldon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer's Association, a cause Wheldon worked to raise awareness for after his mother was diagnosed in 2008.
"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," said Heather Hershberger, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter. "While saddened that Alzheimer's has personally touched his family, we are inspired by this generous and moving tribute."
Marino Franchitti will substitute for his brother Dario, who was injured Oct. 6 in a race incident in Houston, while reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon (a teammate of Wheldon's at Target Chip Ganassi Racing) and former Firestone Indy Lights race winner and IZOD IndyCar Series driver Martin Plowman also will compete.
Other INDYCAR drivers participating: James Hinchcliffe JR Hildebrand Simon Pagenaud Josef Newgarden Tristan Vautier Sebastian Saavedra Alex Tagliani Conor Daly Bryan Herta Jay Howard Sage Karam Gabby Chaves Zach Veach
Also scheduled to compete are Scott and Mark Borchetta of Big Machine Records, members of the Wheldon family and former IndyCar driver PJ Chesson.
The pro-am challenge will be part of the 10th RoboPong 200 race weekend, an endurance karting event that Wheldon won in 2005 - the same year he won the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
Many of the same INDYCAR drivers competing in the challenge will participate in the RoboPong 200, including former race winners Carpenter, Newgarden and Howard plus Will Power, Simona De Silvestro, Stefan Wilson, James Davison, Matthew DiLeo and Logan Gomez.
Admission is free. The race starts at noon (ET) Oct. 27.
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