Target Drivers to wear Special Helmets this weekend Target Drivers to Sport Special Helmet Designs for Indianapolis 500 & Coca-Cola 600 Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, May 24- Big and little smiling faces greeted Target Chip Ganassi Racing team...
Target Drivers to wear Special Helmets this weekend
Target Drivers to Sport Special Helmet Designs for Indianapolis 500 & Coca-Cola 600
Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, May 24- Big and little smiling faces greeted Target Chip Ganassi Racing team drivers Casey Mears, Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe as they arrived at Target House in Memphis, Tenn. yesterday for the unveiling of a very special initiative that will transcend motorsports this Memorial Day weekend. All four Target drivers were on hand to divulge and display the four winning Target House children's helmet designs that they have chosen to wear for two of the biggest races of the season-- the IndyCar Series' Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Coca-Cola 600-- both run back to back this Sunday, May 29th.
Following an IndyCar driver photo shoot in Times Square earlier in the day, Dixon, Manning and Briscoe boarded a plane to Memphis to meet up with Mears and members of the media for the special day at the unique long-term housing facility which serves as a home away from home for families with children receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
In the weeks leading up to the Target House visit, children participated in a helmet designing contest that resulted in 12 final paint schemes for the drivers to choose from.
Designs were rushed to helmet painters Troy Lee Designs, Corby Concepts and Bell Helmets at the beginning of May, and finished products were delivered to the drivers last week. The drivers and team were excited about how wonderful they turned out and couldn't wait for the children's reaction.
The winning designs were unveiled by each driver at Target House before an emotionally charged and excited group of children, along with their families and members of the media.
In racing, helmet design is a very personal and sometimes superstitious thing. This weekend the Target drivers will have an added incentive going into the 500 and 600-mile races, knowing they will be representing not only the team, but a charitable organization that provided them a helmet that serves as a reflection of their personalities. Manning, who chose a very colorful design by 10-year-old Luseane Pese (Lucy), can attest to that.
"The helmet that I chose is a beautiful design by Lucy that has a wonderful layout of rainbows and sunshine," said the pilot of the #10 Target Toyota. "The reason I chose this particular helmet design is because what I felt the design stood for. Anyone that knows me would understand that these things all fit my personality. The fact that it represents new beginnings is also why I'm looking forward to running it in the Indianapolis 500."
The brother and sister team of Maria and Fernando Hernandez combined their talents to design 2003 IndyCar Champion Dixon's helmet, Shell Vest was pleasantly surprised to have his checkered flag design chosen by IndyCar rookie Briscoe, and Mears is especially proud to be sporting his Sarah Novak-designed helmet for NASCAR's longest race of the season in Charlotte.
"I chose a helmet that was designed by a special young lady by the name of Sarah Novak," said Mears, pilot of the #41 Target Dodge. "I couldn't be more honored to have a paint scheme that represents both Target House and St. Jude's. This will definitely add to the race this weekend because it really pushes you that much harder when you're driving for these children, and a special cause such as this."
In honor of the helmet competition, the Target Chip Ganassi Race Team will also donate $2,100 to Target House-- $1 for every lap in the Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600, per driver. Since 1997, Target Chip Ganassi Racing has raised more than $375,000 for St. Jude Children's Hospital and Target House and continues their efforts by donating $5,000 per victory; $1,000 for pole position; and $25 for each lap lead.
Funded by Target and its vendor and celebrity partners, Target House is a unique long-term housing facility, a home away from home, for families with children receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As an extension of St. Jude's commitment to care for any child regardless of the family's ability to pay, Target House provides fully furnished two-bedroom apartments, free-of-charge. St. Jude is the largest center in the world for the treatment and research of pediatric cancer and other life-threatening childhood diseases, and has increased childhood cancer survival rates from 20 to 70 percent overall.