IRL: Panther Racing gets Patrick to sign wing for charity

Danica Autographs Indy 500 Wing; Bidding Hits $36,600 FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Panther Racing driver Tomas Enge was all smiles in his "I Love Danica Patrick" t-shirt as Danica autographed the broken front wing from the 89th Running of the...

Danica Autographs Indy 500 Wing; Bidding Hits $36,600

FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Panther Racing driver Tomas Enge was all smiles in his "I Love Danica Patrick" t-shirt as Danica autographed the broken front wing from the 89th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Friday. Panther placed the wing on eBay to raise money for its charity -- Best Buddies Indiana -- and bidding has reached an astounding $36,600 with just over two days remaining on the auction.

Patrick agreed to autograph the wing earlier in the week when it went up for auction on eBay, and did so today in the Texas Motor Speedway media center. It is the hopes of Panther, Rahal-Letterman Racing and Best Buddies that the autograph on the wing will help raise more money for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

"We're so happy that Panther Racing invited us to be part of this e-Bay event," Best Buddies Deputy Director of Programs Sarah Baldini said. "It has opened us up to possibilities we would have never thought possible and for that we are truly grateful. The national press coverage and incredible bids are exceeding our wildest expectations."

Rahal-Letterman Racing has agreed to host the final bidder at a race later in the IndyCar Series season, with Panther Racing providing tickets and pit passes to the selected event. The final bidder will also be able to meet both Tomas Enge and Danica Patrick.

"This is very good stuff," Enge said. "I'm very surprised about how much money we're going to raise for Best Buddies, so that's great. It's a little bit of a shame we have to do it this way, but I think it was really a really great idea from our owner John Barnes."

Patrick's front wing was damaged as she spun out on Lap 154 of the Indy 500, and crashed into the sidepod of Enge's RockStar Chevrolet. Fellow Panther Racing driver Tomas Scheckter was just behind Patrick as she spun, and Scheckter crashed while trying to avoid the accident. Both Panther drivers were eliminated from the race, and Patrick was able to fix the nosecone of her #16 racecar and finish fourth in the race.

"This auction is just awesome for Best Buddies," Panther co-owner John Barnes said. "Everybody on our team has been watching the price go higher and higher and now that Danica has autographed it, we're hoping will pull in some more money for a great charity."

The wing on eBay was the one that was on Patrick's #16 racecar when she led Lap 56, the first lap ever paced by a woman at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We want to congratulate Danica Patrick," Baldini said. "She personifies what Best Buddies Indiana is all about: celebrating dreams and overcoming challenges. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to John and Jane Barnes and all of our friends at Panther Racing for their unwavering commitment to Best Buddies Indiana, Danica Patrick, and most importantly, the generous e-Bay bidders who are helping people with intellectual disabilities."

Interested fans and memorabilia collectors can log onto www.eBay.com, and search "Danica Patrick" for more information or to place a bid on the wing.

www.rockstar69.com - www.pantherracing.com -- www.byrdbrothersracing.com - www.pennzoil.com

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About this article
Series Charity , IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , John Barnes , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing