Aug 16, 2014, 7:34 PM EST
As part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ annual visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a group of patients from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio known as “Patient Champions” are paired up with drivers and teams that give them a special VIP experience during the race weekend.
Additionally, the 10 “Patient Champions” for today’s race were also honored with special paint schemes on their respective team’s car. Those paint schemes are created with input from each patient.
We’re sure that all of them had a great time today at Mid-Ohio, but one in particular may have had the best day of all.
Six-year-old patient Luke Benner was paired up with Nationwide Series rookie Chris Buescher and helped create an orange, black, and white livery for his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
Today, Buescher put that car in Victory Lane, earning his first-ever NNS win – and also making Benner very happy as these post-race Twitter shots show:
On New Year’s Eve 2012, Benner’s parents noticed that his lymph nodes had grown to a large and bulging state on his neck. Eventually, Benner was sent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where further analysis revealed that he was suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Benner quickly went on a chemotherapy schedule that would have him, on average, visit NCH every other day for a period of six to eight months with a full treatment term of up to three and a half years. But despite his diagnosis, he continues to enjoy a variety of interests, including swimming, Legos, dolphins, and of course, race cars.
The young boy first met Buescher at NCH a few weeks ago as the latter was in Columbus for pre-race media duties. No doubt that Benner will always be a fan of Buescher after this Saturday afternoon.
We’ll also take this moment to recognize the other nine “Patient Champions” that were honored in today’s race:
- Avery Neely – Paired with the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team and driver Brian Scott (finished third)
- Blaine Snodgrass – Paired with the No. 22 Team Penske team and driver Alex Tagliani (finished fifth)
- Sean Tibbs – Paired with the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team and driver Elliott Sadler (finished seventh)
- Reid Zupanc – Paired with the No. 42 Turner Scott Motorsports team and driver Dylan Kwasniewski (finished eighth)
- Blake Hames – Paired with the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team and driver Trevor Bayne (finished ninth)
- Sydney Huber – Paired with the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team and driver Dakoda Armstrong (finished 10th)
- Dalton Miller – Paired with the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team and driver Ryan Reed (finished 12th)
- Allie Norman – Paired with the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing team and driver Brendan Gaughan (finished 20th)
- Tarissa Suchecki – Paired with the No. 99 RAB Racing team and driver James Buescher (finished 25th)
Feb 27, 2015, 9:32 AM EST
American driver secures a seat in GP2 after a turbulent 2014 campaign.
Feb 27, 2015, 9:17 AM EST
FIA confirms that Manor Marussia does have a place on the grid in 2015, relying it complies with the new technical regulations.
Feb 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
26 days after the rest of the F1 field, Force India gets its 2015 car out on track for the first time.
Feb 27, 2015, 7:41 AM EST
Spaniard posts a video on YouTube giving an update on his condition.
Feb 26, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Brazilian driver still believes that Mercedes has the best car in F1 this year.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Briton still manages to finish third on Thursday, but is limited to just 48 laps following the power unit issue.
Feb 26, 2015, 1:45 PM EST
F1 rookie happy with the final raft of updates on the STR10 ahead of the first race of the year in Australia.
Feb 26, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
Spanish racer will get a chance to test the E23 Hybrid out on track at least once in 2015.
Feb 26, 2015, 11:00 AM EST
Ferrari reserve driver speaks after completing his first running in the new SF15-T at a filming day in Barcelona.
Feb 26, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
Ex-Red Bull driver believes that Vettel will be rejuvenated following his move to Ferrari for 2015.
Feb 26, 2015, 8:15 AM EST
The VJM08 will finally make its on-track debut with three days to go in winter testing.
Ron Dennis clears up Alonso crash rumors; confirms he was briefly knocked unconscious but was not concussed
Feb 26, 2015, 7:27 AM EST
McLaren CEO meets with the media to quash incorrect reports surrounding Alonso’s accident in testing.
Feb 25, 2015, 5:13 PM EST
Justin Wilson’s offseason plight isn’t only budget-related, but due to a reduced number of available opportunities in IndyCar.
Feb 25, 2015, 2:45 PM EST
Brad Hollinger’s investment in Williams’ ownership moves from 5 to 10 percent.
Feb 25, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
Lineups and running order ahead of this week’s Barcelona test.
Feb 25, 2015, 11:27 AM EST
What Force India couldn’t gain in car evaluation it could gain in 2015 tire and different driver evaluation last week in Barcelona.
Feb 25, 2015, 10:15 AM EST
The Melbourne season opener is a little more than two weeks away.
- Alexander Rossi confirms return to GP2 in 2015 with Racing Engineering 0
- FIA issues updated F1 entry list including “Manor Marussia” 0
- Fernando Alonso thanks fans for support following crash 0
- Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Thursday 0
- Massa fastest for Williams as final F1 pre-season test begins 5
- Ron Dennis clears up Alonso crash rumors; confirms he was briefly knocked unconscious but was not concussed 3
- McLaren confirms Alonso leaves hospital, and is out for final test 0