IndyCar stars Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe will spend Thursday and Friday in Florida where they’ll trade the cockpit for clipboards at the third annual “Race to Beat Cancer” driving school.
Created by the Andretti Autosport driver in 2016 to raise funds for his Racing for Cancer charity, his close friend and former teammate Hinchcliffe has become part of the instructional package for 30 amateur racers at Palm Beach International Raceway.
“It’s really grown into a great event,” the 2012 IndyCar champion told RACER. “So, we have the Yellow Parties throughout the year that raise money that goes to Racing for Cancer, and this came about where we used Skip Barber and Laguna Seca for the past two years for the school, and now we’re going to Palm Beach to use the Lucas Oil Racing School cars at Palm Beach International Raceway. Our attendance is up this year, so it’s great.”
Coming off the recent Phoenix Open test, private IndyCar testing, and a full schedule of team and sponsor duties, Hinchcliffe says carving out two full days wasn’t easy, but it was well worth the effort.
“Anything for Ryan and this charity. He brings such passion to this particular cause, and it’s one that everybody’s touched by at some point or another,” said the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver. “I’ll never forget when I was his teammate when he won the title back in 2012, and there was a heated debate in the shop one day about what number he was going to run in the following season because Michael [Andretti] very much wanted him to run the number 1, as he earned as champion.
“But that number 28 just means so much to him because of its connection to Racing for Cancer and the 28 million people that are affected by it, so I saw firsthand how much it meant to him, and that was really inspiring for me. I’ve admired and respected on the track, but my time at Andretti made me really appreciate him as a human being off it, and when he came to me with this three years ago, it was a no-brainer.”
With the day-to-day leadership from Racing for Cancer’s Tom Vossman, Hunter-Reay’s charity has become a powerful contributor from inside the IndyCar paddock.
“I’m just so proud of where it’s gone and big thanks to James for taking his time out,” the 2014 Indy 500 winner said. “This is the busiest time of the year, and he’s taken out to help our charity and push our cause forward. And it’s amazing what we’ve been able to do, and I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the help of my wife Beccy and Tom Vossman. Very thankful to have him, and AutoNation’s support over the years. With their help, we’re somewhere north of $6 million right now that we’ve raised.”