IndyCar teams doing their part to help workers on COVID-19 front lines

Posted at 8:12 AM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 08:13:23-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Whether it's on the track or in the pits, IndyCar moves fast. Ideas here, innovation there.

And even when things do slow down inside Andretti Autosport, they are staying busy by using Stratasys, a 3-D printer, to make more than 120,000 masks for first responders to use during the COVID-19 crisis.

"You know, when all of these problems were coming up, we had a meeting with the team and I challenged everybody to figure out how we could do, either with our partners or ourselves, and, actually, my daughter got ahold of Stratasys," Michael Andretti said. "You know, this is something that we've never experienced, so we get our minds together. We say, 'OK, how we gonna get out of this?' and when you do get out of it, you're going to be stronger when you do."

Meanwhile, just down the road at Chip Ganassi Racing, the machines are also working around the clock after calls were made to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and more.

"We just carpet-bombed anyone we could, including the IEDC," Chris Simmons, lead race engineer with Chip Ganassi Racing, said. "Ideas and avenues of where we could help and try to play to everyone's strengths and leverage all of the connections we could."

In addition to masks, they are also fabricating intubation hoods to keep doctors and nurses safe at IU Health and doing so with social distancing and not needing any staff on hand.

"Chip Ganassi was extremely supportive of our efforts and all of our partners, Husky Chocolate, NTT, PNC, super supportive and super interested in what we've been doing," Simmons said. "It's been great that everyone's pulling in the same direction and to help the paddock and to help the medical community here in Indy."

Andretti and Ganassi join Penske and McLaren, among others, in this unified effort. Someday, IndyCar will be back to racing, and it can't come soon enough. But, for now, the needs are pressing.

"We're going to come out of this a stronger team and probably a stronger series and a stronger nation," Andretti said.