A wild final lap marked the end of today’s Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park, which raised $100,000 from its sponsors and participants for The Alzheimer’s Association.
Shortly after the white flag, three of the leading karts in the race made contact with two of them going off-course. The incident enabled both sports car ace Marino Franchitti (subbing for his injured brother, Dario) and IndyCar veteran Ed Carpenter to sneak by for the win.
Franchitti actually crossed the line first, but race officials initially ruled that he had short-cut the course on the final lap. When they realized they were in the wrong about the decision, officials then declared victory for both Franchitti’s Big Machine Records team (co-drivers Scott Borchetta, Mark Borchetta, and Clive Wheldon, Dan’s father) and Carpenter’s Machine of Awesome team (co-drivers Taylor Kiel, Blair Julian, and Adam Rovazzini).
It should be noted that during the 100-minute charity event, teams could buy their way back onto the lead lap with a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, which added more confusion regarding the finish. But no matter.
In the end, it was all about racing for a great cause that was close to the heart of the late Wheldon, whose mother was diagnosed with the disease in 2008.
“Overall, I’m so happy and just feel blessed to be part of this and carry on Dan’s legacy in so many ways – not only his passion for racing, but also to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s,” said Wheldon’s widow, Susie, who organized the special race.
“It was just great racing all days and a great way to celebrate Dan and his life,” said Marino Franchitti. “I just wish he were here racing with us because he would have been kicking all of our arses.”
Second place went to the American Honda kart of IndyCar pilot Josef Newgarden, Indianapolis TV news personality Dave Furst, Honda public relations man Dan Layton, and 16-year-old competitor Chase Jones.
Rounding out the podium was the SG Football Helmets/AL Consulting kart of IndyCar rookie of the year Tristan Vautier, ex-IndyCar driver P.J. Chesson, Anton Julian and Mark Dismore, Jr.