Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge
Josef Newgarden knows the pressure is on.

A two-time Verizon IndyCar Series winner in 2015, Newgarden was hand-selected by Scott and Mark Borchetta of Big Machine Records to be their team’s pro driver for the third annual Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Race Honoring Justin Wilson.

“The pressure is definitely on,” Newgarden said. “It’s big pressure. (Big Machine Records has) won Indy 500s and series championships. They’ve won this race two years in a row (with Marino Franchitti in 2013 and Tony Kanaan in 2014) and they called me and said we expect to win a third time.”

Newgarden will join some of INDYCAR’s biggest stars for the race, which will raise money for the Dan Wheldon Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association and Wilson Children’s Fund.

Also among the pro drivers entered in the event, slated for Sept. 19 at New Castle Motorsports Park, are the drivers who claimed the last three Verizon IndyCar Series championships – Scott Dixon and Will Power; Verizon IndyCar Series race-winning drivers Marco Andretti, Ryan Briscoe, James Hinchcliffe and Ed Carpenter, 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves and newly crowned Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot. It will mark Hinchcliffe's first time in a competitive racing setting since May.

Gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free. All professional drivers competing in the event will participate in a public autograph session from 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. The 1-hour, 45 minute endurance go-kart race for teams comprised one professional driver and three amateur drivers begins at 12:45 p.m. (ET). 

The event has raised more than $165,000 to establish The Sue Wheldon Fund, which has supported a New Investigator Research Grant and early-stage programs of the Greater Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association as well as the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter’s care and support programs.

Professional drivers and sponsors scheduled to participate in this year’s event include: Newgarden (Big Machine Records); Dixon (Target); Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway); Andretti (Bell Helmets); Hinchcliffe (Novitec 1); Carpenter (Machine of Awesome); Chaves (American Honda), Sage Karam (Comfort Revolution); TBA (Firestone 1);  Sarah Fisher (Firestone 2), Briscoe (Novitec 2); Jay Howard (Motorsports Graphic Designs), Shelby Blackstock (Dan Wheldon Foundation/Bill Simpson 1); Pigot (Dan Wheldon Foundation/Bill Simpson 2); Jack Harvey (Performance Tire Service); Matthew Brabham (AFS/Stellricht).

“I’m hoping we get a lot of people out to New Castle Motorsports Park,” added Newgarden, who is also scheduled to compete in the Robo-Pong 200 event at NCMP on Sept. 20. “It’s such a cool event even though I’ve lost the last two years. You’ll see a lot of INDYCAR stars racing on Saturday and we do this every year to honor Dan (Wheldon), but this year we’re also honoring Justin and helping his family, so I hope everyone comes out.”