People’s race car still needs money for Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jill Reynolds sat in class every Wednesday in May while growing up on Indianapolis‘ north side during the 1960s and ‘70s hoping her father would soon be arriving to take her to a “dentist” or “doctor’s” appointment.

Actually, her father’s normal off day from work was on Wednesday. He was picking her up to watch Indianapolis 500 practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was their little secret.

“I would just be like, ‘Please God, let him come get me out of class,’ ” said Reynolds, now a retired special-education teacher living near Fort Collins, Colo. “It’s May. It’s the end of the school year. You knew there was action going on at the track. That’s where you knew people were going.”

Reynolds now volunteers as a search-and-rescue worker in Colorado and hasn’t been able to attend the 500 for quite some time, but her family has had tickets for 50 years. But her feelings for the race still run deep. When she heard about the People’s Race Car, she put up $100 and requested a paw print from Skid, the 5-year-old Australian Shepherd search and rescue dog she works work with, be placed on the car rather than her own name.

“It’s just such a great idea. It makes you feel like you’re still part of things,” she told The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1qLlPjp ).

The People’s Car is the brainchild of longtime friends Travis Tetrault and Jason Godby of Indianapolis. They formed a race team called CuttersRT, a salute to the Cutters bicycling team in the movie “Breaking Away.” (RT stands for race team, which also avoids any potential for copyright infringement, the two said.)

Go to cuttersrt.com, pay your $100 and you too can get your name on the car, which Tetrault and Godby hope to have ready for this year’s 500. They are in charge of the fundraising. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing will handle the car’s set up.

The goal is turn it into a successful business venture while also building an appreciation for the race the two figured has been lost in recent times.

“There’s a lot of people that have complained through the years that the sport isn’t like what it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said Godby, 39, the owner of Godby Heating & Air Conditioning. “OK, so what are you doing besides sitting in your mom’s basement writing on blogs and complaining about it? Travis and I are trying to do something about it.”

They need 10,000 donors to reach their $1 million goal. They say they are short of that, but declined to say how much. Donors also receive a t-shirt and towel. Tetrault said there have been many long nights in Godby’s office stuffing envelopes.

“We’re just mere spectators,” said Tetrault, 38, who works in tech sales and residential construction. “We figured what better way to jump headlong into it and do something really unique.”

It’s an ambitious goal. Fisher has agreed to have no corporate decals on the car if the two reach their $1 million goal. (If they don’t, she plans to run a second car anyway, but would use traditional corporate sponsorship.) Josef Newgarden will be the driver, CuttersRT announced on Wednesday.

“I don’t know if they can do it, but good luck to them,” Fisher said when plans were announced in February. “They have great entrepreneurial spirit.”

Added Tetrault: “They’re the experts at finding the drivers and engineers and getting a car to the track. We’re just trying to raise the sponsorship money and get it qualifying.”

Learning of the car also brought back wonderful memories for Kathie Mason.

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