CHAMPCAR/CART: Mario Andretti and Anthony Edwards to Nashville fundraiser

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 6, 2001) - Mario Andretti has won the Indianapolis 500, the Formula One World Championship and was recently voted Racecar Driver of the Century. Anthony Edwards has won just about every major award in Hollywood and is known...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 6, 2001) - Mario Andretti has won the Indianapolis 500, the Formula One World Championship and was recently voted Racecar Driver of the Century. Anthony Edwards has won just about every major award in Hollywood and is known to millions of television viewers as Dr. Mark Greene on the dramatic series E.R.

They come from different vocations, but the two celebrities are combining their talents for a very worthy endeavor. The duo will be at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville for an April 22 fundraiser benefiting High Hopes, a non-profit therapeutic center serving children with special needs and their families. Andretti and Edwards are making the appearance at the "Hats Off To High Hopes" fundraiser as part of their continuing involvement with the Nashville-based Firestone Racing program.

"Most people understand the connection between the Firestone Racing program and Mario Andretti, but our relationship with Anthony Edwards takes a little explaining," says Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director Al Speyer. "Anthony is very active with a Hollywood-based organization called Cure Autism Now, or CAN. That group recognized being a part of a racing program could heighten awareness about autism, so they now work with Bradley Motorsports, one of the Indy Racing League teams. Since we supply Firestone tires to every team in the IRL we got to know Anthony, and he's become a good friend. When we asked him to join Mario for the High Hopes fundraiser, he jumped at the chance."

Both Andretti and Edwards will be bringing signed memorabilia with them, to be auctioned with other items to raise funds for High Hopes. Edwards is donating an assortment of material from the E.R. show while Andretti is bringing some racing mementoes. Edwards also arranged for Hollywood producer Jonathan Shestack (Air Force One), founder of CAN, to be in Nashville for the event.

The Firestone Racing program coordinated a number of auction items, including:

* An E.R. show script autographed by the cast, a surgical scrub shirt autographed by the cast and Dr. Mark Greene's hospital I.D. autographed by Edwards.

* A go-kart race with WSMV-TV anchor Demetria Kalodimos.

* Four tickets to the 2001 Indianapolis 500 (May 27, 2001).

* Items from actor Sylvester Stallone, who will appear in the racing movie Driven, set for release April 27.

* Eighteen holes of golf at the Springhouse with WKRN-TV anchor Bob Mueller and WSIX Radio personality Gerry House.

* A ride in the Indy Racing Experience at Nashville Superspeedway - a two-seater, open-wheel racing car capable of 180-mph speeds.

* A visit to the set of E.R. to watch a taping, including lunch with Edwards.

* Four tickets to the Indy Racing League event at the new Nashville Superspeedway (July 21, 2001).

* A 42-inch antique brass Hunter ceiling fan.

* A set of four tires from Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director Al Speyer and his wife Jane also have donated autographed Paul Newman cookbooks for the auction.

In a separate but related activity, the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund is making a $10,000 contribution to support High Hopes.

"Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., the Firestone Racing program and the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund are pleased we can help High Hopes continue its mission to help children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other challenges," Speyer said. "In addition to bringing in Mario and Anthony, we've asked many of our friends in the open-wheel racing community to attend the event."

Renowned songwriters Mark D. Sanders and Tim Nichols, both longtime supporters of the Hats Off to High Hopes fundraisers, have reached out to the Music Row community, ensuring a mixture of recording industry celebrities will also attend and perform at the function. Topping that list is Mercury recording artist Jamie O'Neal, whose debut single There Is No Arizona reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts. O'Neal, coincidentally, made one of her first solo artist appearances at the Wild Horse Saloon. Her newest single is When I Think About Angels.

Tickets for the evening, including the auction, entertainment and a buffet dinner, are $50 each, available through advance purchase by calling High Hopes at (615) 269-6640. Tickets will also be available at the door. The function begins a 5 p.m.

The Firestone Racing program began in 1909 when company founder Harvey S. Firestone decided motorsports would be a good way to demonstrate the durability of tires. Firestone tires were on the winning car at the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 - and they were on the car that won that race in 2000. All told, Firestone-equipped drivers have won at Indianapolis 51 times - more than all other tire manufacturers combined. In 2001, every car at the Indianapolis 500 will ride on Firestone tires - even though the competition is open to any tire manufacturer.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. is the largest subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. Bridgestone/Firestone develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton, and associate and private brand tires. The company also produces Firestone air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber, and industrial fibers and textiles.


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About this article
Series IndyCar , General
Drivers Mark Green , Mario Andretti , Paul Newman