IndyCar: Sato’s Indy 500 helmet raises over $31,000 for charity

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Follow the deadly March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged his homeland of Japan, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Takuma Sato created the “With You Japan” program to assist families affected by the disasters.

Sato’s efforts to help continued this past May during the Indianapolis 500. He raced in the event with a special edition helmet that was later signed by him and team owner A.J. Foyt, and then put into an online auction to raise money for “With You Japan.”

The helmet had pulled in $15,675 when bidding ended on June 9. But today, the Foyt camp announced that the helmet had raised $31,350, as the winning bid for the helmet has also been matched by an anonymous donor.

The winner of the helmet is described in the team’s release as a “longtime supporter of Sato who lives in Japan” that, like the donor, chooses to remain anonymous.

“I am very glad that I became the successful bidder for the auction of the Indy 500 Special Helmet,” said the winner. “I appreciate this helmet is a symbol of Takuma and his team’s wishes and challenging spirit. I am proud to own this helmet and will continue to support Takuma who keeps challenging even in difficult situations.”

Sato also thanked everyone for their support of the auction.

“It is great news that this auction raised a huge amount for “With you Japan,” he said. “A big congratulations to the successful bidder, and I really appreciate all donors who put in extra contributions.

“Japan is still struggling from the effects of the tsunami so with your help, we will continue to support children in a way to have some fun activities and encourage their dreams.”

source:
The top of Takuma Sato’s special edition helmet for the Indianapolis 500. Said helmet has raised more than $31,000 for Sato’s “With You Japan” charity. Credit: A.J. Foyt Racing.

Danica says goodbye: ‘Definitely not a great ending’ but ‘I’m for sure grateful’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Danica Patrick’s final racing news conference didn’t but at least she didn’t lose her sense of humor about it.

“Is that like the Oscars when they close the show out?” Patrick joked when her opening address was drowned out by the midrace broadcast of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 in the media center. “Take my mic away. I’ll leave. I promise. I don’t really want to be here because I’m pretty sad, but all right. I guess I’ll stop there.”

That was about as lighthearted as it got, though, for the most accomplished female driver in racing history after the final start of her career. That naturally made for some reflection, too.

“I will say that I’m for sure very grateful for everybody,” she said. “It still was a lot of great moments this month. A lot of great moments this year.”

Patrick was the first woman to lead both the Indianapolis 500 (in her 2005 debut) and the Daytona 500 (in 2013 when she also was the first female to qualify on pole position in NACAR history).

But she couldn’t bookend that with similarly memorable finishes. After crashing out of her final two Cup races in the November 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the 2018 Daytona 500, Indy concluded the same way.

“Definitely not a great ending,” she said. “But I kind of said before I came here that it could be a complete disaster, as in not in the ballpark at all. And look silly, then people may remember that. And if I win, people will remember that.

“Probably anything in between might just be a little part of the big story. So I kind of feel like that’s how it is. I’m appreciative for all the fans, for GoDaddy, for Ed Carpenter Racing, for IndyCar. Today was a tough day. A little bit of it was OK. A lot of it was just a typical drive.”

Beforehand, Patrick seemed relaxed while smiling and laughing outside her car with a tight circle of close friends and family that included her parents and boyfriend Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback.

“For sure, I was definitely nervous,” she said about her first Indy 500 start in seven years. “I found myself most of the time on the grid being confused what part of prerace we were in. I was like, ‘I remember this,’ and ‘Where are the Taps?’ and ‘When is the anthem?’ but I had all my people around me, so I was in good spirits.”

And with that, she bid adieu.

“Thank you guys,” she said. “Thank you for everything. I’ll miss you. Most of the time. Maybe you’ll miss me just a little. Thanks, guys.”