(by Dave Lewandowski indycar.com 10-12-11)
Of the tens of thousands of spectators at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, Ann Babenco of High Bridge, N.J., will have a special rooting interest in Dan Wheldon’s result in the Las Vegas Indy 300 – the marquee event in the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda.
Babenco is the winner of the Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge sweepstakes in which she’ll split $2.5 million with Wheldon if he wins the 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval.
“When they called me, I couldn’t believe it,” said Babenco, who joined Wheldon at a kickoff news conference Oct. 12. “I was so nervous with excitement I was speechless. Then I couldn’t stop talking. $2.5 million! I can’t believe it.
"We're a team. I figure if I'm so lucky to have won this sweepstakes it will continue and he'll win the race.”
Fans entered the Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge sweepstakes, sponsored by GoDaddy.com, through the Verizon INDYCAR Mobile App (text INDYCAR to 3406 or go to Android Market to download) and through the official website of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships, www.IndyCarWorldChampionships.com.
In addition to the chance at $2.5 million, Babenco and a guest are being treated to the complimentary trip to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships, VIP access to events in Las Vegas and the racetrack and more.
Wheldon, who will start from the rear of the 34-car field, says he likes the odds.
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could do it," he said. "I don't want to disappoint this young woman from Jersey. We've become fast friends, I think."