Paul Menard offers ride-alongs for Make-A-Wish/Indy Racing Experience this week

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Indy Racing Experience has partnered with Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to enhance two wishes during the Kroger Brickyard Super Weekend that takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 24-27, 2014.

The two wish kids, Hunter, age 11 and Kobey, age 16 are coming to the Brickyard 400 for their wishes, and will also get to experience a ride-along in a Make-A-Wish two-seater NASCAR and/or Pace Car driven by Paul Menard, who pilots the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevy SS in the Sprint Cup Series for Richard Childress Racing this weekend.

Menard will drive each child on the streets of Speedway with a police escort on Friday, July 25 at 2pm. Each ride will begin outside of the motorcycle lot by the Hall of Fame Museum at IMS. The ride will continue to Polco down 10th and Main Street, and back to the Hall of Fame Museum.

“We appreciate the support of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing Experience, and Paul Menard in helping us to make the wish experiences for our wish kids at the Brickyard 400 extra special,” said Wish Program Manager Suzanne Gardner. “The joyful memories they create here are ones they will have to remember for years to come.”

Hunter has a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. LGS is characterized by recurrent seizures and children often have delays in development and have psychological and behavioral problems stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

Kobey has a condition called Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, DMD leads to progressive muscle weakness, which leads to serious medical problems, particularly relating to the heart and lungs. Kobey and Hunter’s conditions are both life-threatening.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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