Tony Stewart to donate custom scooter, hopes to raise over $100,000 for charity

7 Comments

In what could very well be the ultimate souvenir for Tony Stewart fans, the three-time Sprint Cup champion announced Thursday that he’ll donate the custom scooter he used for several months while rehabbing from last August’s gruesome sprint car accident to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.

In turn, the Foundation will place the scooter up for bid at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction April 11-13 in Palm Beach, Fla. It’s expected the one-of-a-kind ride could fetch $100,000 or more.

“We thought long and hard about what we should do with the scooter when we were finished with it,” said Stewart, who will climb back into a Sprint Car for the first time since last August’s crash on Friday. “After working with Darrell Gwynn and his foundation for so many years, I know there are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate, and that a scooter is a way of life.

“The scooter I used after my accident is top of the line, and it will serve someone very well. I want it to go to a deserving person, but I also want it to help others. Auctioning it off at Barrett-Jackson, where all the money will go to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, allows Darrell and his group to serve its mission by providing support for people living with paralysis.”

After undergoing three surgeries, Stewart managed to get around in the custom-made four-wheeler both at his team’s headquarters in suburban Charlotte, as well as at several races he attended late in the season.

But there’s more to just donating the scooter to raise funds for the foundation Gwynn started nearly 20 years ago after being paralyzed in a drag racing accident.

Stewart and his team have gone all out to trick out the scooter with a paint scheme that mirrors his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS. In addition, the overall package will include Stewart’s signature on the scooter and a race-worn firesuit, as well as a trip and accommodations for two to the Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5.

And the topper of the package: the highest bidder and guest will have two of the best seats in the house for the race, watching from atop Stewart’s pit box.

Stewart hopes to ultimately raise more than $100,000 for Gwynn’s foundation, pledging to match the first $50,000 bid made for the scooter.

“I’m putting my money where my mouth is, too,” Stewart said. “The scooter and the money will be well served by Darrell and his team, who have donated wheelchairs to hundreds of individuals through its National Wheelchair Donation Program. I’m impressed with everything Darrell has done for others and I’m very proud to contribute to his foundation’s mission.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar: Turn 5 gives drivers fits in Friday’s second practice at Barber Motorsports Park

IndyCar
Leave a comment

You’ve heard of the Fast Six in IndyCar, right?

Well, Friday’s second practice session for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama was the Frustrating Five – Turn 5, that is.

It almost might be easier to list those drivers that were not bitten by the cantankerous turn on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park layout in Birmingham, Alabama.

Close to 10 drivers in the 23-driver field suffered issues in the turn, ranging from running off the grass and back on, to getting stuck and having to be towed out, to suffering damage.

But by the time the one-hour session was over, Josef Newgarden took a big step towards defending his win from last year’s race there, being fastest in Friday’s second of two practice sessions.

Newgarden covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in a speed of 122.786 mph at a best lap time of 1:07.4345 minutes.

Spencer Pigot was second (125.599 mph/1:07.5372), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (122.129 mph/1:07.7971), Will Power (122.107 mph/1:07.8092) and last week’s winner at Long Beach, Alexander Rossi (122.065 mph/1:07.8326).

Sixth through 10th-fastest were Scott Dixon (122.044 mph/1:07.8445), Ryan Hunter-Reay (121.975 mph/1:07.8829), Takuma Sato (121.652 mph/1:08.0628), Marco Andretti (121.579 mph/1:08.1040) and Graham Rahal (121.572 mph/1:08.1076).

Now, speaking of all the incidents, here’s a list.

INCIDENTS:

* Right after rookie Matheus Leist spun early in the session in Turn 5, fellow rookie Zach Veach spun with about 45 minutes left in the session in Turn 5. Graham Rahal had to take evasive action to miss Veach.

But that wasn’t all, as Sebastien Bourdais followed in almost the same spot with a spin of his own roughly a minute later, and then Gabby Chaves also had his problems in the same turn, going into the grass but avoiding the gravel.

* Simon Pagenaud joined his Penske Racing teammate Josef Newgarden in the Turn 5 gravel. Newgarden spun into the gravel in the first practice session.

* Rookie Rene Binder, who has struggled in his inaugural season, continued to have issues, running into the wall and causing damage to the front end, needing a tow truck to get him righted.

It appeared Binder snapped part of the front suspension in the incident.

* Turn 5 saw James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan run off-track late in the session, but they were able to continue.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The third and final practice of the weekend will take place Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET, to be televised live on CNBC (with an encore performance at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, the weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

Follow @JerryBonkowski