The party was a fundraiser for local youth charities, including the Andretti Foundation. The Indy drivers were there along with 300 special guests. Part of my duties as Grand Marshal of the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma was going to this event — twist my arm!
I was put on the spot during the dinner when Steve Page, President of Infineon Raceway, handed me the microphone after introducing me as Grand Marshal. He asked for a preview of what I was going to say to start the race on Sunday.
Protocol for Indy races is “Drivers start your engines” rather than “Gentlemen start your engines.” So I sort of surprised myself by saying I was thrilled to say “Drivers” not just “Gentlemen.”
After meeting Danica Patrick, I realized how monumental and groundbreaking her presence is. For me this is not about men or women, but about people fulfilling their passion and their dreams and being grateful for opportunities to be his or her best. Danica is showing people what is possible and I have tremendous respect for her.
Here's some information about the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, which takes place Sunday, August 23.
- What: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
- When: Aug. 21-23
- TV: Versus, Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. PT
- 2008 Winner: Helio Castroneves
- Web Site: Infineon Raceway