Modified: June 01, 2014 6:36 PM
Win at Indy is a win for cancer fight
Shortly before last month’s Indy 500, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson ran into Roger Penske’s sons, Roger Jr. and Greg.
He had a message for their old man.
“I want Ryan [Hunter-Reay] to win, but if it’s not Ryan, it would be great if it’s a Penske car. That’s fine with me. As long as it’s either Ryan or Roger, I’m happy,” Jackson recalled.
“How’s that for a gracious statement?”
Hunter-Reay’s thrilling win after a duel with Penske speedster Helio Castroneves on the closing laps was especially sweet for Jackson and AutoNation.
The dealership group partnered with Hunter-Reay’s Racing for Cancer charity in May 2013 to beat the disease. AutoNation associates have raised $750,000 for the charity since joining forces, and the company has matched that with its own donation, bringing the total haul to nearly $2 million thus far.
After the big win, AutoNation is offering its service lane customers the chance to donate to Racing for Cancer by adding $2 to their repair orders under the “It Just Takes $2 2 Make a Difference” initiative.
Jackson said Hunter-Reay is an ideal partner. He founded the charity after his mother died of cancer in 2009, and he drives the No. 28 car to honor the 28 million people living with cancer around the world.
“I’m thrilled for Ryan, and I’m thrilled what [his victory] means for his efforts and our efforts for curing cancer. That can never be taken away. He’s now a legend,” Jackson said. “We will save more lives. We will come sooner to a cure to cancer because of this fine young man.”
Meanwhile, Jackson hasn’t spoken with “The Captain” yet about the race.
“I’ll wait a while to do that,” said Jackson, who was a Penske ally while at Mercedes-Benz when Al Unser Jr. won the 1994 Indy 500 with a Mercedes-funded engine.
“Roger loves to win. He knows how to win. He’s relentless. I will not call him just yet.”
Left from The Villages today and headed south towards St. Petersburg, our final destination. Just a little over 100 miles today…finished in St. Pete around 6:15pm to stage myself to participate in the 2011 Illuminated Night Parade. The parade traveled down Central Avenue to Beach Drive and finished at North Straub Park. Drivers were introduced and then fireworks started off the 2011 IndyCar season!
As this journey ends, we thought it would be helpful to leave you with information on how you can protect yourself by early screenings. Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no (more…)
Today we headed west from Titusville on our way back across Florida to get closer to that 2800 mile mark! It was of course another great day in Florida for biking, even had the opportunity to bike a few miles in the Orlando area with a classmate from West Point. We finished the ride today after about 95 miles in The Villages, FL and will press onward tomorrow to St. Petersburg in time to be a part of the 2011 Illuminated Night Parade that takes place downtown and along the waterfront.
We spent the evening with some very dear friends of mine, The Harrington’s (whom I refer to as Mom and Pop) because they were like parents to me as I was growing up. Their son and I were classmates at West Point and it was just a great pleasure to be able to stop and visit with them. Mom cooked a great homemade meal of steak sandwiches, coleslaw, potato (more…)
Headed SE into the wind but I was able to cover 105 miles from St. Augustine to Titusville before days end with 6 ½ hours in the saddle. The ride along the Atlantic Ocean was very scenic ride…shared a photo on Twitter today because everyone should experience the beauty of the ocean.
Later in the afternoon, we stopped at McDonald’s to take a break and met a woman who shared with us that her son Max Hoare, a Daytona resident had been recently diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 4. He is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. Today, the ride will be dedicated to Max, please keep him and his family in your prayers that God will bless and keep them strong.
We continued to head south to Daytona, wanted to make sure and add the Daytona International Speedway to the historic sites that we have passed along the way. Since it’s (more…)
Day 25 on the ride and as usual the Florida weather holds true to their image! Another warm sunny day…slightly cooler than yesterday.
We headed out this morning from the west side of Gainesville but before we left the hotel we had a chance to meet Bobbi Rawlins. She works at the hotel and was telling us that she had lost both her brother and sister-in-law to cancer. Her brother, Larry Cruce died from liver cancer at the age of 63 and her sister-in-law, Peggy Cruce died from colon cancer at the age of 42. Today we dedicate the ride to Bobbi as she has become a true advocate from experience to early screenings and detection. We pray for you and your family, Bobbi.
As we headed further into the town of Gainesville, we found ourselves nearing “The Swamp.” Had to stop and take a picture of course and also enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the University of Florida campus. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (popularly known as “The Swamp”) is the home field of the university’s Florida Gators football team. The stadium was originally built in 1930 and (more…)
Today is day 24 of the 2800 mile ride, but only day 23 of riding. We’ve taken one rest day back in Texas and still pushing onto to St. Pete. We left Tallahassee this morning and the weather was a little overcast this morning, but warm. The fog burnt off rapidly and by 11:00am it was a nice sunny day, with temps in the mid 80’s. Headed out going south once again, but the winds here in Florida are just not cooperating. Decided to change directions and head to Gainesville, hoping the winds would be better in Gator Country!
One highlight for the day was riding over the historic “Suwannee River” in Fanning Springs. This river is a major river of Southern Georgia and Northern Florida. It is a wild blackwater (more…)
We are getting closer each day to completing this ride, today we started out from Port St. Joe, FL. The weather was absolutely beautiful today, temps were in the mid 80’s and the wind direction for the most part was in my favor. We left the hotel a little later than normal, needed to make a quick doctor visit to the hospital located right next to the hotel to have the saddle sores checked out! The doctor diagnosed me with cellulitis and ordered me off the bike for at least two days…unfortunately don’t have the two days so the pain meds will really come in handy!
When I returned to the hotel last night from the hospital, Al & Mimi Tipson were waiting in the lobby for me. They had seen the 28 day, 2800 mile ride flyers that we have been leaving in the hotel lobby. They wanted to donate to the cause as they are both Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivors! NH Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphoid (more…)