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Sports Xtra: Dallara answers need in COVID-19 fight

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Posted at 12:36 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 00:36:47-04

SPEEDWAY — Leave it to the racing community to be among the first to react to a need in the fight against COVID-19. Among the first to help is a company known for its quickness and safety.

You've seen what they make — the IndyCar chassis — one of the most recognizable race cars in the world. But, it's what Dallara is making inside their building in Speedway that is being more recognized than ever.

"I don't have an explanation," Stephano De Ponti, Dallara USA CEO and general manager, said. "Bascially, whenever you're facing an emergency, you become more and more creative."

Inside the Dallara building in Speedway, De Ponti and his crew are cutting material to be used for masks and gowns, material coming from StitchWorks in Indianapolis, with finished products headed to Eskenazi Hospital.

"We have to squeeze in with the normal activity," De Ponti said. "That's the reason why we stay open. I try to help as much as I can as much as they need it."

The machines usually cut carbon fiber cloth used in race car and aerospace components. For a company that has gone all-in, back in its headquarters in Italy, where the coronavirus continues to hit hard, the company's namesake, Gianpaolo Dallara, has directed the development of a new mask, which could help victims early on.

"We're receiving components to put together a sample, a prototype at Dallara USA and give it to somebody who wants to see if it can be beneficial," De Ponti said.

It's an effort De Ponti never envisioned.

"I was talking to my boss yesterday, Mr. Dallara is very concerned and worried, like all businessman with employees. He's worried," De Ponti said.

The effort is making a difference.