Caleb Hammond. Photo: Angie Holland, Oskaloosa Herald via AP

Racing stickers pour in for casket of 11-year-old Iowa boy dying from leukemia

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) — Race drivers and others have been answering the call from an 11-year-old Iowa boy who wants racing stickers to cover his casket after he dies from leukemia.

Caleb Hammond’s uncle, Chris Playle, told The Des Moines Register that his family brought him home to Oskaloosa, about 55 miles southeast of Des Moines, after determining the painful treatments he’d been undergoing at a Des Moines hospital weren’t working and other options offered little hope.

Playle says Caleb’s been home for about three weeks doing things an 11-year-old normally does, but that he tires easily.

Caleb has loved auto racing since the age of 2, when he started visiting his uncle at his home near the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. The two would watch as drivers parked their cars on the street before the track opened and then would head to the stands to see the colorful cars race around the speedway.

“He’s my racing buddy. It was kind of our deal,” Playle said. “I probably had just as much fun as he did.”

Caleb's Dream Race Day

Yesterday Caleb Hammond, an 11 year old battling luekemia got to experience racing in a way that any young fan would dream of! It was great to see the racing commuinty rally together and make this come together in such short notice. As you will see, the result will leave you with a smile on your face and proud to be apart of the racing family! Tag and share with anyone who is not already included!

Posted by Aspire Film Productions on Sunday, August 19, 2018

His passion for racing is what prompted the request for stickers. Playle said the stickers have been pouring in after social media appeals, helping to keep everyone’s spirits up.

Playle said the family is “just trying to do as much as we can with him while he’s here.”

Caleb’s got to experience racing first-hand on Saturday when he suited up in driving gear and sped around a dirt track in a stock car designed for children. A 12-year-old racer sat beside Caleb to help him learn to work the stick-shift and navigate the track.

Caleb’s father, John Hammond, told The Oskaloosa Herald that the entire family had been looking forward to the racing.

“A goal of his was to be able to drive a race car when he got older,” Hammond said. “It’s like a dream come true.”

Per the Des Moines Register:

Stickers and cards can be sent to Caleb Hammond’s family at 314 North J Street, Oskaloosa, IA 52577.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.