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DATE News (chronologically)
10/27/13
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Franchitti wins Dan Wheldon Pro-Am Karting Challenge  With two laps to go in the Dan Wheldon Pro Am Karting Challenge, five karts had a chance to come away with the win.

But shortly after the white flag, the lead three karts made contact, sending two into the grass and allowing Big Machine Records' Marino Franchitti and Machine of Awesome's Ed Carpenter to sneak by and take the checkered flag.

"I saw they had a bit of an issue in the front and it was able to get me back in the lead and that was enough to hold on," said Franchitti, who was filling in for his brother Dario. "It was just great racing all days and a great way to celebrate Dan and his life. I just wish he were here racing with us because he would have been kicking all of our arses."

Though Franchitti's kart -- which he shared with Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta, Mark Borchetta and Clive Wheldon, father of Dan Wheldon -- was the first to take the checkered flag. Officials originally ruled it had short cut the course on the final lap.

After determining that the Big Machine kart had not been the offending team, officials declared both Big Machine and Machine of Awesome co-winners of the 100-minute charity race, which saw each team compete in four segments driven by a different Pro or Amateur driver.

"We got second," said Carpenter, who teamed with Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew members Blair Julian and Adam Rovazzini and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member Taylor Kiel. "There was a timing issue at the end. It was really good racing. It was a really good event and something we can continue for a long time.

"We raced against each other all year long, but this is a more relaxed setting and we were able to raise money for a charity that Dan loved -- The Alzheimer's Association. I feel like we did a lot of good today."

"We got second," said Carpenter, who teamed with Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew members Blair Julian and Adam Rovazzini and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member Taylor Kiel. "There was a timing issue at the end. It was really good racing. It was a really good event and something we can continue for a long time.

"We raced against each other all year long, but this is a more relaxed setting and we were able to raise money for a charity that Dan loved -- The Alzheimer's Association. I feel like we did a lot of good today."

Teams were allowed to buy their way back on to the lead lap by donating to the Alzheimer's Association, which helped cause further confusion over the final segment.

Second-place was awarded to the American Honda team of Josef Newgarden, Dave Furst, Dan Layton and 16-year-old kart racer Chase Jones. Third-place was the SG Football Helmets/AL Consulting team of Tristan Vautier, Anton Julian, P.J. Chesson and Mark Dismore Jr.

The biggest winner, of course, was the Alzheimer's Association, which was the beneficiary of the $100,000 raised by the event's sponsors and participants.

"Overall, I'm so happy and just feel blessed to be part of this and carry on Dan's legacy in so many ways, no only his passion for racing, but also to raise awareness for Alzheimer's," said Wheldon's widow, Susie, who organized the event.

QUOTESHEET:

CONOR DALY (IMS Team): "It was a lot of fun (racing against James Hinchcliffe and Zach Veach). We knew Zach would be fast because he's so small. Luckily, he stuck with the game and kept pushing one of us. I got caught out with the traffic at the end (of his stint) and lost them. It was a lot of fun and this is some of the most fun we get to have at the kart track. To get a lot of INDYCAR guys out here is awesome and I'm glad they put this event on. I'm sure Susie is getting a kick out of it. This sport is a big family and we're out here to enjoy it and that's the best part."

ZACH VEACH (Bell Racing USA Team): "It was a lot of fun. I think I have a slight weight advantage on those guys, but I wanted to make sure I could stay with them and have some fun in the pack. Hinch, Conor and I swapped positions almost every lap. The karts looked really nice before we started our run, but now all three are destroyed. You give us something nice and we proved today, we can't take care of it."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (Go Daddy team): "We had a good starting spot (teammates) Ben (Smith) and Cole (Carter) did a good job getting the No. 27 kart up to the front. Took the lead and I can't say I never looked back because I spent half the race looking back at Zach and Conor kicking my ass. We definitely weren't the fastest kart but we used some crafty gamesmanship and basically won (the stint) on the fact Zach had no idea when the last lap was. He would have driven around me like I was standing still." (About racing in the event): "It's an honor to come out here and participate in something Dan loved doing and for a cause close to his heart. It means a lot to all of us. We're a close community and to see everybody come out after the season is done. Basically they took our Indy cars away from us and we needed something else to drive. This was a good excuse to get everyone together again and it's a great cause. It was kind of Susie to invite us all to drive."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (SG Football Helmets/AL Consulting team): "It's a honor to be able to race here for the Alzheimer's Association and in honor of Dan and have fun at the same time. It makes for a great event and I'm happy to be here. I had a lot of fun in my stint. I raced hard with everyone out there."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (American Honda team): "The lead-off stint went great. The Honda-powered kart ran incredibly well. I finished second in my stint. They didn't throw the white flag and I didn't know when the race would end. Other than that, it was a great day."

SCOTT DIXON (Target team): "It was fun and a bit crazy. We had a good start and got up to fourth with some hard racing. I just caught a bit of the edge of the track in the last corner and spun, so I had to chase my way back to the front. It looked like a good show, especially in the final segment and good for everyone to watch. To race for Dan and Susie and with all the sponsors on board, is what it's all about."

JR HILDEBRAND (GoDaddy team): "We started up in the front, but got caught up in the melee at the beginning. It would have been fun to run with everybody, but instead, we ended up backwards and half a track behind. It's great to be out here and have fun. It was a good day at the track."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (Eli Lilly): "I was trying to be clever. Second place was going to try to dive-bomb the first place and I was going to do the classic outside-inside switch-around. I nearly came away with it, but those two came across the track and hit me so hard I was heading for the flagger. I saw him drop the flag and run away faster than Usain Bolt."

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