Andretti Autosport announced today that Ryan Hunter-Reay will run the remainder of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season after a group of team sponsors stepped up collectively to fund the effort.
In addition to confirming Hunter-Reay's full-season participation, the team also unveiled a new charitable initiative connected to the No, 37 entry called "Racing for Cancer." The program, which was developed by Tom Vossman, CEO of team sponsor Inland Industrial Services Group, will raise money for cancer research and other charitable causes in honor of Hunter-Reay's mother, Lydia, who lost her battle with colon cancer in November 2009.
Although Hunter-Reay was originally slated to run only a partial schedule with primary sponsorship from Phillips-Van Heusen and its IZOD brand, Andretti Autosport continued to seek additional funding to grow the program to full-time status. However, Ryan's second place and a win in the opening three races of the year prompted team owner Michael Andretti to put his own money into the No. 37 car to keep the project going.
Then, during the past several weeks, a number of Andretti Autosport partners have collaborated on a series of marketing and business-to-business deals which have galvanized Team IZOD from a part-time effort to a full-time team.
The car will continue to sport the primary sponsor scheme of Team IZOD with the exception of a race at Chicagoland Speedway and one other event (to be determined) where Ethanol USA colors – as seen on the car at Iowa two weeks ago – will again appear.
The "Racing for Cancer" program officially launches today at www.racingforcancer.org and will raise funds during the remainder of the 2010 season and beyond. Those funds will be donated primarily to two national charities – The Michael Fux Foundation and LIVESTRONG – and will drive marketing, promotional and awareness campaigns in support of The Michael Fux Foundation and its beneficiaries.
As part of their support for Hunter-Reay and Team IZOD's car number "37," and in honor of Hunter-Reay's mother, a number of Andretti Autosport team sponsors have committed to making $37,000 donations to "Racing for Cancer." The first official $37k donation to the effort was made by Hunter-Reay's teammate, Tony Kanaan.
"I can't even begin to describe my sense of relief, appreciation and excitement,” said Hunter-Reay. “So many different people, organizations, companies and partners pulled together to make this a reality and I have to thank them for their belief in me.
"Andretti Autosport and Michael Andretti have been so supportive in so many ways. They have really dug deep to not only get me and the No. 37 car on track this season, but also to keep it there. As I've been saying all along, this team is incredibly good at what it does and that's why we've not only won together already, but we are now making it a full-season effort.
He went on: "I am honored to announce my new position as global ambassador for 'Racing for Cancer.' Thanks to Tom Vossman and his endless dedication for the cause, I am able to complete the 2010 season and race in honor of my mother, Lydia, who recently passed away due to cancer. The 'Racing for Cancer' Platform has endless opportunity in not only raising awareness but contributing to the fight on the front lines of the battle against this terrible disease, which affects so many of us. "I also have to thank Michael Fux for his personal support and making the 'Racing for Cancer' program a reality."