IRL: Michigan: Racing for Kids/Firestone - hospitalized kids visit

Local hospitalized children visit Michigan International Speedway; meet Firestone Firehawk Mascot at Racing for Kids Motorcoach. BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 25, 2002) - As preparations continue for this weekend's Indy Racing League competition at ...

Local hospitalized children visit Michigan International Speedway; meet Firestone Firehawk Mascot at Racing for Kids Motorcoach.

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 25, 2002) - As preparations continue for this weekend's Indy Racing League competition at Michigan International Speedway, no one is more excited about the event than a group of 25 youngsters from Mott Children's Hospital in Detroit.

Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., and its Original Equipment group (BFOE) based in Southfield, Mich., have partnered with the Racing for Kids organization to bring the children to the speedway this Friday.

"For the last few years, we've worked with the Racing for Kids organization to bring some injured and ill children to motorsports events in the greater Detroit area," said Rob Strebler, Account Executive with BFOE. "We're thrilled to do that again this year, bringing them to Michigan International Speedway where they will meet drivers, see racecars, have lunch and enjoy a day outside. We hope they have fun, and that the trip to the track helps with the healing process."

According to Dr. William Pinsky, the pediatric cardiologist who founded Racing for Kids more than 13 years ago, the emotional aspect of kids mingling with drivers is a definite factor in a child's recovery.

"More physicians are recognizing how important this program is to children - and their families - who are struggling with a variety of injuries and illnesses," Pinsky said. "A patient's emotional state is a significant factor in how he or she responds to treatment, and how long the recovery period lasts. I've watched drivers, like our national spokesperson Robbie Buhl, meet with thousands of children over the years, and it's always rewarding to see the impression drivers make and the impact this has on each child."

The children and their escorts are expected to arrive at the Racing for Kids motorcoach in the MIS infield at approximately 10 a.m. Friday. They will be greeted by the Firestone Firehawk mascot, spend some time with Dreyer & Reinbold/ Purex/Aventis Racing driver Robbie Buhl, then get to see some action on the track.

"Due to the nature of some children's injuries and illnesses, we can't keep them away from the hospital too long," Strebler said. "But while they're here, we'll give them an up-close look at racing and some time to talk with Robbie. We're proud to be a part of the excitement, and pleased to work Dr. Pinsky, Robbie and the Racing for Kids organization."

Dr. Pinsky founded Racing for Kids at Children's Hospital of Michigan in 1989. Since that founding, the program has raised more than $2.5 million in funding, and has drawn national attention to children's healthcare issues. Racecar drivers involved with the campaign, including current Racing for Kids national spokesperson Robbie Buhl, have visited more than 13,000 children in more than 160 children's hospitals in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Persons interested in supporting Racing for Kids may contact the organization at its headquarters in suburban Detroit, at (313) 882-3403.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate and private brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, agriculture and other tires to its customers in North America.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robbie Buhl