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.”

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.

IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

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