Rutherford, Castroneves, and More at Sam Schmidt Foundation Gala


Speedway big-timers Johnny Rutherford, Helio Castrovenes, and Arie Luyendyk, Sr. came out last night for the 13th-annual Racing to Recovery Gala at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, to help raise money for the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. If we’re honest, the term “gala” seems a little too fancy—it felt more like a friendly family reunion, as smiling Indy drivers (including Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, and Davey Hamilton) mingled easily with the avid racing fans and foundation supporters in attendance.
Schmidt, himself a former IndyCar driver, inspired the crowd by recounting the many positives that have followed the 2000 crash in Orlando that left him paralyzed, such as the outpouring of affection he’s received from the racing community. “I realize that, as a driver, I was one of 33 guys, and I thought I was doing a lot,” he told IM. “But I wasn’t. Now I feel like we are really doing a lot because we’re helping thousands of people.” Schmidt’s foundation has raised more than $13 million for paralysis research in 13 years (and last night’s gala alone netted nearly $300,000).
Rutherford received a Legendary Driver Award at the event, and the Holmatro Safety Team—the trackside responders who helped save Schmidt’s life after the 2000 crash—won a Silent Hero Award.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.
Photos by Meredith Cohen