Dale Earnhardt Jr., IndyCar’s Ed Carpenter take #IceBucketChallenge (VIDEO)

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As the summer has gone on, the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise ALS awareness has spread across the United States – and has also helped raise more than $4 million toward research (July 29 to August 12) for the ALS Association and its 38 chapters.

In case you don’t know about the Challenge, it goes like this: Participants are dared to have a bucket of ice water dumped on them and post a video of it on social media, or make a donation toward ALS research. They then nominate family and friends to do the same.

More commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) impacts approximately 30,000 Americans. It affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and progressively robs those afflicted of voluntary muscle movement and their abilities to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.

The act of dumping a bucket of ice water on someone will not itself bring about a cure for this hideous disease. But the additional awareness and funding generated by the Challenge can do a lot of good.

People from all walks of life have taken part in the Challenge, and over the last couple of days, two big names in the racing world – NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Verizon IndyCar Series driver/owner Ed Carpenter – have followed suit.

After being challenged by Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, Earnhardt got the bath today at Michigan International Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports posted a clip of it earlier this afternoon.

Following his dousing, Earnhardt promptly challenged Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson, his own crew chief Steve Letarte, and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

As of now, Letarte and Snyder haven’t responded but Johnson tweeted that he’d “skip the ice to write a big check”:

Junior’s response?

Carpenter was also challenged by an NFL player – in this case, Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton.

And so, yesterday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Carpenter got soaked with help from fellow IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, who wore one of IMS’ infamous “yellow shirts” for the occasion:

Carpenter then challenged Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.

For more information about ALS and on what you can do to help, visit the ALS Association’s website at ALSA.org.

INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden quickest again in second practice at Road America

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Josef Newgarden continued to be quickest around Road America, first this morning and again this afternoon in the second practice session for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Newgarden had a best lap in the second session of 1:42.6279, followed by rookie Robert Wickens (1:42.9025), Sebastien Bourdais (1:43.0020), Will Power (1:43.0545) and teammate Simon Pagenaud (1:43.1599).

Sixth through 10th were Graham Rahal (1:43.1995), Scott Dixon (1:43.4212), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:43.4755), Takuma Sato (1:43.5410) and Marco Andretti (1:43.6221).

One significant incident of note occurred during the session when Alfonso Celis Jr., making his IndyCar debut this weekend, lost control coming out of a turn and slammed into the tire wall, causing damage to his suspension.

The third and final practice session of the weekend will be Saturday at Noon E.T., followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.

The race will take the green flag on Sunday shortly after 1 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on NBCSN.

Follow @JerryBonkowski