Victory Lap: VLC Kids Get An Up-Close Look At IndyCar Racing

Track day

When Dawn McCool from Superior Van and Mobility received word of an opportunity for a day at the Indianapolis 500 track, she knew just who to invite. Superior works with several families from Victory Lane Camp and have been a camp sponsor.

“I think a lot of Victory Lane Camp and saw this as a way to give back,” Dawn said.

The day is an initiative by Sam Schmidt of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Schmidt was a rising star in the Indy Racing League when a tragic crash left him paralyzed. In partnership with Braunability, a company that customizes vehicles for people with mobility issues, Schmidt hosts these VIP events for wheelchair users.

AJ Wise and his parents were already planning a family day for May 20, but those plans became more exciting after the phone call about the day at the Indianapolis Speedway. AJ’s family joined Ian Humphrey and his family, along with VLC staff, for an up-close look at Indycar racing.

Ian and AJ both had the opportunity to meet Sam Schmidt and several other race car drivers and team members. One of the highlights of the day for AJ was meeting driver Tony Kanaan.

“I gave him a fist bump and he gave me the hat that he was wearing to keep, and he autographed the hat,” AJ noted. “I liked seeing the race cars. I got 15 autographs and took lots of pictures and a video of Sam Schmidt.”

AJ’s mom, Taby, was impressed with the fans in the garage area, who would often encourage drivers to talk with AJ. The group got a tour of the Indycar garage area, followed by lunch and time on their own to explore the track and observe practice.

“Sam always makes himself available and is very approachable and down to earth,” Dawn expressed.

The families who attended will be watching the 100th running of the Indy 500 with renewed interest. James Hinchcliffe, the driver for Schmidt’s team, has the pole position for the race.

Dawn concluded, “It was great to see the kids get to experience the track, and it’s neat to see that someone who is so giving and caring like Sam Schmidt have his car in the pole position.”

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