Palmetto's Andersen Racepark to host pro-am kart race to benefit All Children's Hospital

Special to the HeraldMarch 12, 2014 

Tudor United Sportscar Series pro drivers Jan Heylen, left, and Patrick Long watch the on-track action at the 2013 Patrick Long Pro-Am Kart Race. PROVIDED PHOTO

On Sunday, 13 of the best professional sports and Indycar drivers will arrive at Andersen Racepark north of Palmetto to donate their time and talents to raise money for All Children's Hospital by competing in the third annual Patrick Long Pro-Am Kart Race.

They will be joined by 40 to 48 lucky amateurs who are willing to donate to All Children's for the privilege of testing their talents and skills by racing with the pros.

The small intimate venue at Andersen will allow participants and spectators alike to rub elbows. Yes, spectators are allowed, and your $25 entry fee ($20 if paid in advance) goes directly to All Children's.

Each pro will be paired with four amateurs, all of which will do about 15 lap stints in a modified endurance race of about 1 1/2 hours. The pros will go for bragging rights by qualifying the team, then finish the race by driving the last stint.

Spectators will be able to watch from two up-close, track-side locations, while a limited number of pit pass holders will be able to lunch with the pros and watch from pit row.

There also will be a display of exotic and classic sports and race cars, live music by Josh Lamkin and Automatic Heat preceding the race, and an auction of memorabilia from pros and their teams and/or sponsors. A sample of the auction items include an autographed pair of gloves worn in the previous day's Sebring race by TV star and race driver Patrick Dempsey, a $4500 Porsche bicycle, and a Steve McQueen Porsche jacket autographed by several Pro's at the Sebring race.

The driver slots are filled, but there are still a few pit passes at $100 minimum donation and lots of room for spectators.

Race fans can get more information and register by going to Kart4Kids.com. or by emailing Christian Rava at crava68@yahoo.com.

Here is a list of the pros expected at Andersen Racepark:

• Patrick Long, the first professional volunteer, and an ardent supporter, has agreed to headline this year's event.

Patrick is a three-time ALMS GT driver's champion, Pirelli World Challenge GT Drivers Champion, class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (twice), Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans (three times), the only North American employed as a factory racing driver by Porsche and a class winner at the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000.

• Sebastian Bourdais is fresh off his overall win at Daytona. He will be attending but cannot commit to drive due to his schedule. Having competed in virtually every major sports and open wheel racing series in the world, his resume is extensive and impressive, including 4 consecutive Champ Car titles '04-'07 with 31 wins, and the record for most wins in a season.

• Colin Braun will once again join the pro lineup this year. Colin most recent accomplishments were the PC win with the 54 Core car at this year's Rolex24 at Daytona, and breaking Bill Elliot's 1987 speed record at Daytona International Speedway with an incredible 222.971 mph, while also setting the FIA standing 10 mile and standing 10km records.

• Jan Heylen is coming off an impressive third-place finish at Daytona in the highly competitive GTD class with young Madison Snow in the Snow Racing N. 58. Jan has an impressive racing resume, including Champ Car, ALMS, Rolex Grand-Am and many European series.

• Katherine Legge will join the pro field this year. Well-known for driving the Delta Wing Car, Katherine has driven in Champ Car, European DTM, IndyCar, as well as ALMS and now Tudor United Sportscar. Her stated goal has been the Indianapolis 500, where she has driven twice.

• Tristan Vautier spent the last year driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in IndyCar, where he was rookie of the year after winning the Pro Mazda Series in 2011 and the Indy Lights crown in 2012.

• Tommy Kendall, a TV racing personality and former racing champion, will join the race this year. Tommy was twice IMSA GTU champion, 4-time Trans-Am Series Champion, was invited to drive in the IROC Series for 6 seasons and had 14 NASCAR Winston Cup wins from 1987 to '98, primarily on road courses.

• Anders Krohn was the 2011 Indy Lights Champion, as well as GT driver in the Rolex Grand-Am series.

• Dr. Jim Norman is considered a gentleman driver, for his primary occupation is as a renowned parathyroid surgeon. But he was IMSA GT-3 Champion in 2011, Rolex Grand-Am Rookie of the Year in 2012, Daytona 24 winner and series champion in the Rolex Grand-AM GX class in 2013.

• Trent Hindman is just 18 but has already won a Team USA Scholarship, driven in the USF2000 Road to Indy Series and placed second in GT-2 at the 2012 SCCA Nationals.

• Norbert Siedler is joining his co-driver, Dr. Jim Norman, in the Park Place #71. Norbert is primarily a European driver, having been European Formula Ford Champion in 2000, Italian Formula 3 Champ in 05, driven in LMP2 in '07, and in Porsche Supercup since '08.

• Brian Sellers, like most of the pros attending, got his start in karts. He then progressed to formula Ford, where he won the championship in '02. He has been driving in both American LeMans Series, and Rolex Grand-Am since 2005.

• Jon Bennett is a team owner and CEO of Composite Resources, www.composite-Resources.com, and has a lifelong passion for racing, but chose to become an engineer first, eventually founding Composite Resources. As his career allowed, he entered amateur racing, eventually winning several national championships in SCCA. He moved to IMSA Prototype Lites, where he won the ALMS PC team championship in '11, '12 and '13 while placing second overall in '10.

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