While visiting the pit area at the California Speedway, the day before the Indy Racing League's Toyota Indy 400, I couldn't help but notice a rather drastic change in the paint schemes of the two entries from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Normally, the Ganassi cars are white with bright red trim and bright red circles on the front which is the official logo of their primary sponsor Target stores. However, the cars the team brought to the California Speedway had bright pink targets and trim. It turned out there was a very good reason for the change: Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The team's two Toyota G Force IRL cars, driven by Scott Dixon and Darren Manning, as well as Ganassi's NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge, driven by Casey Mears, will maintain the new pink logos for the entire month of October. Additionally, the drivers and team members will wear pink ribbons on their fire suits and uniforms. This is a partnership agreement recently made with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help promote awareness and the importance of regular check ups.
The team is also supporting the foundation with a very generous cash donation as well. Target Chip Ganassi will donate up to $50,000 by the end of October to the foundation for every lap the three teams complete during the month. The IRL teams have one remaining race this month while Casey Mears has four events in October on the NASCAR schedule.
In a prepared statement from the team driver Scott Dixon pointed out that driving a pink car is certainly going to attract a lot of attention and he could not think of a better cause. "Raising awareness is just so important in the fight against breast cancer and I'm proud to do this for the women in my life, especially my mom and my two sisters," he said.
Dixon also noted that he has learned a lot about the disease since the team's involvement and was surpised to discover that breast cancer is not just a disease that impacts women. More than 1,450 cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed this year according to statstics from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Again referring to the team's awarness campaign Dixon further stated "we're hoping we can make a difference, no matter how small, by getting the message out there."