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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Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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