Photo: PIRTEK Team Murray

Military veterans to service PIRTEK car at Indy pit stop challenge

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Cool story here that was released yesterday but that would have likely been buried in the day’s activities at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The PIRTEK Team Murray effort has another partner announcement in a cool way.

The full release is below:

PIRTEK Team Murray and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation have created a unique program that will see six military service veterans and first responders from across North America molded into a pit crew for this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 celebrations in May.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) worked with Team Murray and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to create the concept and WBHE will be using the pit crew program to launch American Sniper: The Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition Blu-ray on May 3.

The pit crew will be housed in Indianapolis for the 10 days leading up to the event and will be trained and coached by some of the sport’s leading fitness and movement professionals, including Pit Fit’s Jim Leo.

Training complete, they will then be the entry crewing the PIRTEK Team Murray #61 Chevrolet entry into the TAG Heuer Pit Crew Challenge on Coors Lite Carb Day, Friday May 27, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The program was officially launched today by Kyle’s wife and PIRTEK Team Murray ambassador – Taya Kyle – at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in Florida, the opening round of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Taya, the wife of Chris Kyle and best selling author of American Wife, was joined by PIRTEK Team Murray founder, Brett “Crusher” Murray, driver of the #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet, Matt Brabham and former Navy SEAL, David Rutherford, who was announced as the first member of the CK Crew.

Rutherford, who is based in Florida, served eight years in the Naval Special Warfare Community, leaving the services in 2003.

He works as a motivational speaker with many of the world’s biggest companies under the banner of Team Froglogic, using his SEAL training to develop the competitive edge for those organizations.

An advocate for the recognition and treatment of PTSD among the military community, he is also a regular podcaster and radio host, Performance Coach, musician, poet and author who has published three books, including the best selling Self Confidence.

The remaining five members of the crew have been personally selected by Taya Kyle and will be announced during the coming weeks.

The remaining five members of the crew, a mixture of first responders, active military service personnel and veterans, have been personally selected by Taya Kyle and will be announced during the coming weeks.

The CK Crew concept was born from Chris Kyle’s appreciation for the teamwork that pit crews display in going about their job.

It was the one thing about motorsport that stood out to him some years ago when first attending a NASCAR race – Chris taking the time to speak with the crew, commenting at the time that the precision, toughness and the ability to work as one for the common goal reminded him of his military unit.

Funds raised through the program will be used by the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to build programs that allow military service, veteran and first responder families to reconnect post-deployment.

The six CK Crew Members and Supporters will be included in a host of experiences including a ride in a two-seater IndyCar, being the guests of honor at a team dinner, team-bonding go-kart challenge with Matt Brabham, team hospitality and being included in the pre-race activities on the grid as guests of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Foundation will be using the Indianapolis 500 and other major Verizon IndyCar Series events throughout the year as a basis to allow military and first responders to re-engage and enhance their family units.

PIRTEK Team Murray will field a car in this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 for Matt Brabham, achieving the milestone of seeing the Brabham family becoming just the third family to have three generations compete in the race.

The US arm of Australian founded PIRTEK Fluid Systems has taken the naming rights of the team which has a technical partnership with KV Racing Technology, who won the Indy 2013 with Tony Kanaan.

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

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Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”