VICS: INDYCAR News and Notes – Sept. 25, 2015

1. Series Champion Dixon Joins Ganassi Effort for Petit Le Mans
2. Foyt Recovering from Artificial Knee Surgery
3. Auction Helmets Raise Nearly $140,000 for Wilson Children’s Fund
4. Of Note

1. Series Champion Dixon Joins Ganassi Effort for Petit Le Mans: Four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will join the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver lineup for the Petit Le Mans endurance sports car race on Oct. 3 at Road Atlanta.

Dixon, who claimed his most recent Indy car championship Aug. 30 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, will co-drive in the top-level Prototype class with Scott Pruett and Joey Hand in the 10-hour TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season finale. In January, Dixon co-drove a Ganassi Prototype to victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Verizon IndyCar Series teammate Tony Kanaan and Ganassi NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. He teamed with Pruett and Hand in the No. 01 car to finish fourth at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

“Petit Le Mans is always a very exciting race and Road Atlanta is such a challenging track to drive,” Dixon said. “The No. 01 has had some very strong runs recently so I’m hoping I can go out and help them compete for another win.”

Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time Indy car champion and two-time race winner in 2015, will co-drive an Action Express Racing Prototype in the endurance race. Jack Hawksworth, who just completed his second Verizon IndyCar Series season and first with AJ Foyt Racing, will join Indy car veteran Bruno Junqueira with RSR Racing in the Prototype Challenge class.

Ryan Briscoe, who competed in eight Verizon IndyCar Series races this past season for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, will co-drive a GT Le Mans division entry for Corvette Racing. NBCSN Verizon IndyCar Series analyst and Indy 500 veteran Townsend Bell will co-drive a Scuderia Corsa Ferrari in the GT Daytona class.

2. Foyt Recovering from Artificial Knee Surgery: A.J. Foyt, Indy car’s all-time leader in race victories and now the owner of AJ Foyt Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series, is recovering in a Houston hospital following surgery Sept. 23 to implant an artificial knee in his right leg.

The implant replaced an antibiotic-infused cement spacer Foyt, 80, received Aug. 10. It was the second phase of treatment for a staph infection that surfaced in his original artificial knee in July.

“My doctors said everything went perfectly, so I was relieved to hear that,” said Foyt. “My right leg was clear of the infection, so the doctors were able to give me a new knee. They were really pleased with how everything went.”

It is the second time Foyt has been hospitalized with a staph infection, following a January 2012 hospitalization for an infection in his left artificial knee.

3. Auction Helmets Raise Nearly $140,000 for Wilson Children’s Fund: The first batch of memorabilia – consisting of 20 racing helmets from Verizon IndyCar Series drivers and Mario Andretti – fetched nearly $140,000 in closing bids on the eBay auction to benefit the Wilson Children’s Fund. That puts auction organizer and fellow driver Graham Rahal nearly a quarter of the way to his goal of raising $1 million to assist the family of Justin Wilson, who succumbed Aug. 24 to an injury suffered in a race the day before.

More memorabilia – including donations from INDYCAR, NASCAR and Formula One drivers and teams, and National Football League, U.S. Soccer, UFC (mixed martial arts) and entertainment world items – is available for bid through Sept. 28. Items will be added until the auction concludes Oct. 26. To view and bid on items, click HERE.

With eBay waiving fees for the auction, all proceeds go directly to the Wilson fund. Private auctions for the racing helmets of Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay brought in $74,000, meaning more than $213,000 has already been earmarked for the fund from the helmets alone.

Additional ways to contribute to the fund include: purchasing a limited edition reproduction of 50 signed and numbered prints of noted artist Bill Patterson’s original work depicting Wilson’s final Indy car victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012 (clickHERE ), with $100 of each print sold contributed to the fund; buying tribute T-shirts and other Wilson items at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway online store (click HERE); or contributing directly to the fund online (click HERE) or by mail to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, PO Box 50738, Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738.

4. Of Note: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe will receive his Indianapolis 500 Mile Race starter’s ring in a ceremony at the team’s shop Sept. 30. Hinchcliffe qualified 24th but was unable to compete in the 2015 race after sustaining a serious thigh injury in a May 18 practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe will return to an Indy car for the first time since the accident in a Sept. 28 team test at Road America. … The Grand Prix of Boston, set to debut on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule from Sept. 2-4, 2016, named the Cavallino Group as its official merchandiser. The Cavallino Group, based in Needham, Mass., is a merchandiser for several Verizon IndyCar Series teams and U.S. distributor for brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin.