Pippa Mann

Mann, Woedl Organizing Indy Fans Tweet-Up

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Pippa Mann, besides her on-track time and searching for sponsorship, has worked very diligently over the last few years to help create fan awareness of the IndyCar Series through her social media presence and active at-track activities.

With the 2014 season now actually “in range” after the four or five months since Fontana last October, Mann and devout IndyCar fan Amy Woedl are working on organizing a fan tweet-up two weeks before the season opener in St. Petersburg. The Indy Fans Tweet-Up will be held March 16 at Fastimes Karting indoor go-kart track in Indianapolis, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Karting, prizes, and surprises will all be on the agenda for the day. Kids over 53 inches can drive the junior karts, with Woedl organizing activities for those under. Glass Hammer Racing and Miles Ahead will both have a presence at the event, and other special guests could potentially make an appearance from the IndyCar media side, and the Mazda Road To Indy driver side. More information is available here.

Months of planning go into these tweet-ups, which can be either formal or informal meet-ups of IndyCar fans to get together in person after interacting on Twitter. In Mann and Woedl’s case, that’s how they met to begin with.

“Amy and I first met at a Glass Hammer Racing Tweet-Up at Mid-Ohio in 2011,” Mann said. “He (Woedl’s son Gage) showed up with a really cool picture of my racing car he had drawn, and was wearing a Pippa cap… As a racing driver we meet a lot of people, but that’s the kind of thing you remember, and that really sticks with you.”

It stuck so much, in fact, that upon Mann’s return to the 500 this past year in Dale Coyne’s No. 63 Cyclops Gear Honda, she presented Gage with the chance to hold onto her steering wheel.

“The Indy 500 was incredible, and he still talks about how cool it was to see a garage on the inside and how the wheel felt,” Woedl explained. “She has given Gage some pretty incredible memories, and the mom side of me is always grateful to Pippa for that!”

“His face when I handed him the steering wheel to look at was a picture!” added Mann.

As for the tweet-up itself, it’s not the first such IndyCar-related version. The Official Winter Indy Tweet-Up, organized by Monica Hilton and Elizabeth Lenzi in years past, is not going ahead this year due to other obligations and commitments.

“They are the reason the fans wanted an event this winter, and they are the reason we even had the idea to try and organize a fan event in Indy before St Pete,” Mann said.

Both Mann and Woedl have discussed the idea of doing more such events throughout the year at IndyCar events, as their time and schedules permit.

It’s an active, fan-friendly event that should do a good job of gathering a collection of IndyCar aficionados in one place and at good rates to generate excitement for the 2014 season, and it’s cool to see an active driver and devout fan put it together.

NHRA: Alexis DeJoria brings free mammograms to Texas, Las Vegas races

DeJoria pink race car for breast cancer awareness month
(Photo courtesy Alexis DeJoria Racing)
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Some drivers see red when they’re behind the wheel of a 300-mph Funny Car.

But NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria is seeing pink in the month of October – and she’s proud of it.

DeJoria, who owns Alexis DeJoria Racing and drives the Tequila Patron Toyota for Kalitta Racing, is using the color pink to call attention to breast cancer awareness month in October.

DeJoria has partnered with Baylor Healthcare Systems to offer free mammograms to race fans attending this weekend’s AAA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex (Friday and Saturday) in Ennis, Texas.

She’ll reprise that role, partnering with Nevada Health Centers for the Toyota Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas Oct. 30-31.

According to a media release, ‘”Mammovans’ (mobile mammography units) will be parked in the nitro pits of the racetracks, and free mammograms will be available on-site during both weekends to female ticketholders over the age of 40, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance.”

Those who seek to be screened do not need an appointment or referral. If you have health insurance, bring your insurance information to the race. Test results will be sent via mail approximately ten days after the event.

This year’s initiative continues a program DeJoria began three years ago when she launched the “Free Mammograms for the Fans” program.

Also, DeJoria will drive a hot pink race car in both events.

“I really want to thank the Patrón Spirits Company and Toyota for their support, as well as Kalitta Motorsports, everyone who bought items on our eBay fundraising page, purchased our pink Fight Like a Girl bracelets and made donations,” said DeJoria. “It all goes toward this very wonderful life-saving cause and we would not be able to provide this service to our fans without their support.”

Added Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales USA, “If we are able to save the life of so much as one mother, daughter, sister, wife or friend, it will be well worth our additional investment in our partners at DeJoria (Alexis DeJoria Racing). It truly is rewarding to be able to assist one of our race teams on a program that is so meaningful to so many people.”

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Sir Stirling Moss: Enclosed cockpits in open-wheel racing ‘ridiculous’

Sir Stirling Moss Getty
(Getty Images)
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While IndyCar mulls some type of enclosed cockpits or canopies in their race cars as early as 2017 to enhance driver safety, one racing legend scoffs at the notion that open-wheel racing should go down that path.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Sir Stirling Moss told Road and Track at the recent Lime Rock Historic Festival. “Motor racing is dangerous. And one does it – some of us do it – because it is dangerous. I was one of those. And I think to go and put forward things like that is absolutely ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.”

MORE: IndyCar CEO: No safety changes for 2016 car, despite Wilson death

It’s the opinion of the 85-year-old Moss that safety elements in one form of open-wheel racing – namely, Formula 1 – are as good as they can be at the moment.

“I think quite honestly, most events have good flag marshaling, which is very important,” Moss said. “The drivers know what they can do and they usually stick within their realistic limits.

“But of course, obviously, the sort of racing and etiquette you have on a circuit like this, or, a club circuit, is necessarily pretty different when you start talking Formula One.

“But, I think (danger) is part of the sport. I don’t think anybody wants to get hurt, but they’re all going to push themselves up to their limit, and that’s pretty good.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski