Charity go-kart race to be held in Wheldon’s honor later this month

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We missed this over the weekend, but it deserves some coverage here this week. IndyCar announced Thursday in Houston that The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge at New Castle Motorsports Park will be held Oct. 26 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Wheldon was a huge champion for raising awareness about Alzheimer’s after his mother was diagnosed with it in 2008.

Wheldon’s widow Susie has organized the race and found an outpouring of those willing to contribute.

“I feel so blessed to have had such an overwhelming response from people wanting to contribute,” said Wheldon, who will be attending the event with her two small children Sebastian and Oliver, as well as their father’s family from England.   “The outpouring of support goes to show what kind of person Dan was and how he affected those he met.  I couldn’t be more proud.  Being able to carry on his legacy with an event like this, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association, is something very special.”

The two-hour timed race will feature a four driver lineup of one pro and three amateurs. The pros racing for the 12 corporate-sponsored teams include Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Alex Tagliani, Simon Pagenaud, Tristan Vautier, Sage Karam, Ed Carpenter, Martin Plowman, Josef Newgarden, Jay Howard, and Bryan Herta.

More information can be found on IndyCar’s website, here.

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.