INDIANAPOLIS – Andretti Autosport officials knew they had a good thing going when they hosted the INDYCAR team’s first charity garage sale in December 2017. They made it bigger and better for the second edition.
As with the first sale, Wednesday’s event featured a canned food drive benefiting Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis and sales proceeds went to the Michael Andretti Foundation. Andretti Autosport’s four IndyCar Series drivers – Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Zach Veach – were on hand to autograph purchased items again. But as team president J-F Thormann pointed out, this year’s sale had added benefits – even if some were unintentional.
“We’re doing some pit stop demonstrations, that’s new for this year,” Thormann said. “We have more car parts (for sale). Unfortunately, they come from accidents or are old parts, but we wanted to have a little more variety than your standard t-shirts and caps.”
Fans attending were asked to donate canned goods for Gleaners. One buyer found merchandise from a favorite past Andretti Autosport driver of hers. Vicky Wilkerson from Speedway, Indiana, was happy to find Simona de Silvestro items for sale.
“I wanted to see the drivers and see what cool merchandise they had for sale.” said Wilkerson. “I got a Simona de Silvestro hat, t-shirt and jersey. I also got two Marco Andretti hats and a die-cast car of his, plus a Zach Veach die-cast car.”
Thormann said it was busier at the two-hour mark of Wednesday’s event than it was at the previous sale. With some team sponsors visiting the shop, it proved beneficial on several fronts.
“I think people enjoy coming here when it’s not under the pressure of a race weekend,” said Thormann. “Everybody’s a little more relaxed and they get a chance to see behind the scenes, they can look and walk around our shop and look at some of our iconic cars.”
In addition to the pit stop practice, food trucks serving pizza and gourmet cupcakes were on hand.
“Someone said that while we’re standing around waiting, it would be neat to be able to eat something,” Thormann explained. “Once again, our partnership activation managers along with Ryann Rigsby (the team’s vice president of communications), who leads them and with Marissa Andretti, they probably thought it was a good idea to have that.”
Veach, entering his second IndyCar Series season with the team, enjoys meeting people who love the sport and the team.
“For us it’s so special because this is intimate time that we get to spend with people from our local community,” he said. “I moved to Indianapolis because I wanted to be around the environment that produces such great race fans, as well as the Andretti Autosport shop so being here and having everybody at the same place is pretty special.”
The 17-race IndyCar Series season opens March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Teams will have an INDYCAR-scheduled testing opportunity Feb. 12-13 with Spring Training at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.