'A Day with Arie Jr.' Is Among the Items Available at the Racing to Recovery Gala Sunday Night

INDIANAPOLIS, May 13 - "A Day with Arie Luyendyk Jr." will be one of the live auction items at the fifth annual Racing to Recovery Gala at Eddie Merlot's restaurant on Sunday, May 16, a fund-raiser for the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.

Just like his famous father, Luyendyk Jr. is one of the fan favorites on the Indy Racing League circuit. The winning bidder will get a chance to spend a day with the young star of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series and get to know him even better.

The bidder will be responsible for travel arrangements, but Luyendyk will buy lunch and/or dinner during the day. Although he's an active sportsman, the actual activities of the day and its date will be determined after Luyendyk and the winning bidder discuss shared interests and compare schedules.

That's just one of the unique auction items that fans can obtain at the gala. Artist Bill Patterson will create a painting on site that will be auctioned off that night. Royal Spa has donated one of its deluxe spas for the live auction too.

Host Bob Jenkins will explain to the partygoers the event's improved champagne promotion, which is sponsored by Reis-Nichols Jewelers.

A silent auction of unique sports memorabilia and other items will also be part of the evening. On Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar (r) Series drivers will attempt to qualify for the MBNA Pole, but a lucky fan could get an MBNA pole award of his own 24 hours later at the gala.

MBNA Motorsports, the Indy Racing League and One-of-One Designs have donated the MBNA Pole Award from last year's race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado to be part of the gala's silent auction. Qualifying for that event was rained out and the award for that race was never presented, so it will now become an extremely unique collector's item for a lucky bidder.

Other unique silent auction items include an actual brick from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of Sarah Fisher's driving uniforms, and much more.

The evening's title sponsors are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League. Raymond James & Associates and Standard Management/U.S. Health Services are the presenting sponsors. Contributing sponsors include Bridgestone/Firestone and Toyota Motorsports/Toyota Racing Development.

A limited number of tickets are still available at $125 each by calling (317) 714-0340 or e-mailing racingtorecovery@rhin.com.

Eddie Merlot's is located at 3645 E. 96th St., Indianapolis.