NASCAR Friday Notebook: Ganassi race teams unite to raise diabetes awarenessHeavy is the head that wears the crown. That's the old maxim, but 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart doesn't think it applies to Brad Keselowski, the driver who won the title last year.
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Despite suffering from type 1 diabetes, Charlie Kimball drives an IndyCar for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Now his teammates across all platforms of Chip Ganassi Racing teams are joining together with sponsor Novo Nordisk, a global health care company, to raise awareness of the disease.
During the weekend of April 5-7, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray will sport a "Race with Insulin Unites" paint scheme on his No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at Martinsville. That same weekend, Kimball will run a similar paint scheme at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala.
All other Chip Ganassi Racing cars will feature blue tire rims to help launch the Race with Insulin Unites campaign, including Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 42 Cup car, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti's No. 9 and 10 Hondas IndyCars and Scott Pruett's and Memo Rojas' No. 1 BMW GRAND-AM car.
Kimball, 27, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 22, wants to drive home the point that victims of the disease aren't limited in terms of what they can accomplish.
"It's a united team front," Kimball said Friday during the announcement of the program at Daytona International Speedway. "Having diabetes affects people everywhere. To be able to take it across all different walks of life and to use racing as a vehicle for that message is important.
Novo Nordisk did some activation at some NASCAR races last year, really enjoyed the exposure and wanted to continue to grow that message."
McMurray has been involved in other charitable work, most notably aiding the victims of autism and those affected by the 2011 tornado that devastated his hometown of Joplin, Mo. The 2010 Daytona 500 winner was eager to join Kimball in promoting awareness of the disease.
"From my standpoint, whether it's with autism or the Joplin tornado, I've been asked numerous times if (I'd) rather be known as a great race car driver or a great person," McMurray said. "Being a great race car driver is a goal, but, ultimately, when your time on earth is over, you want to be known as a great person.
"To be able to get involved with causes like this is really special. I'm really honored to be a part of helping Charlie and being part of his team."
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. That's the old maxim, but 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart doesn't think it applies to Brad Keselowski, the driver who won the title last year.
Stewart is convinced that the championship won't be an onus to Keselowski.
"I think his demeanor is one that it's not going to bother him," Stewart said Thursday during NASCAR Media Day interviews at Daytona International Speedway. I don't think he's going to feel that pressure, that weight.
"Brad is pretty good about doing things on his own, having his own identity. I don't feel like that's going to be anything that weighs on him at all. I think he's a guy that's not going to look at the past as much as he's going to look at the future."
FOURTH CHILDRESS CAR?
The Furniture Row Racing team that fields Kurt Busch's Chevrolets is based in Denver, Colo. Home to Richard Childress Racing is Welcome, N.C.
Nevertheless, the two organizations have formed a bond that defies geography. Furniture Row's executive director of competition, Mark McArdle, doubles as director of racing operations at RCR, shuttling between the two shops.
Asked whether he attends competition meetings with RCR drivers, Busch was adamant.
"Absolutely," Busch said. "I was in Charlotte last year (for his first start with Furniture Row). The setups for all four cars were there on one sheet. The crew chiefs are in a meeting, the engineers are in a meeting, the drivers are in a meeting. You have all the top guys spread around into the meetings as well.
"It's like we're the fourth car. Instead of it saying '33' on the door, it says '78' and Furniture Row."