More than a dozen former or current IndyCar drivers competed in today’s Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am charity kart race at the New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park.
In the end, Tony Kanaan – a former teammate and good friend of the late two-time Indianapolis 500 champion – held off a charging James Hinchcliffe to earn his second straight win in the event, which benefits Alzheimer’s research. Scott Dixon, another former teammate and friend of Wheldon’s, finished in third position.
Per NBCSN’s Robin Miller, other IndyCar pros past and present that competed today included: Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Ryan Briscoe, Josef Newgarden, Sebastian Saavedra, J.R. Hildebrand, Sage Karam, Conor Daly, Jay Howard, and P.J. Chesson.
Also in attendance today were Wheldon’s widow, Susie; his sister, Holly, and his two young sons, Sebastian and Oliver. Five-year-old Sebastian led the field on the pace lap in his kart, and Holly also competed in the race as well.
For more on the special day, check out the feature from tonight’s NBC Nightly News in the clip above.
The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.
The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.
DRIVE LIKE ANDRETTI: Marco is in for Michigan
REVISED SCHEDULE: IndyCar makes 2020 adjustments
Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.
He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.
“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”
It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).