Hoosier Heroes: Paying tribute to our military with ‘the people’s race car’

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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s called ‘the people’s race car’ and it’s turned into a special way to honor our Hoosier Heroes.

Travis Tetrault and Jason Godby came up with the idea this year to have a car that was funded by people, instead of corporate sponsors. Anyone could sign up – for $100 you get your name on the car or the name of a loved one.

“When we put this together, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Tetrault. “Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, we started seeing a large military following and we wanted to honor that.”

That’s where Kathie Mason and her son Dylan O’Dell come in.

“Kathie was one of our first sponsors, and she wanted to do this as a surprise for her son Dylan who was overseas at the time,” said Tetrault.

O’Dell serves in the Navy, and just returned from a deployment overseas earlier this month.

His mother surprised him with a sponsorship on the car – with Dylan’s name placed (among many others) on the race car driven by Josef Newgarden.

“It’s a great feeling,” said O’Dell. “It’`s neat to be part of the race, rather than just a spectator… that was the coolest coming home surprise I’ve ever gotten. It’s pretty neat.”

“To see the people’s stories, that’s what has made this a great story for us,” said Tetrault.

“He’s a great kid,” said Mason. “I can’t think of anybody better to sponsor. He deserves it. He does a lot for his family and his country.”

“It’s really cool to see my name on a car that’s going to be going around the best race in the world,” said O’Dell, a Kokomo native. “That’s the best feeling in the world to know that while you’re out there (serving your country), there’s people back home doing this for you.”

“He’s a huge race fan and I thought it`d be a real cool homecoming gift for him,” said Mason. “I’m just glad I had a chance to honor my son in this way… he absolutely is my hero.”

Dylan’s been to every Indy 500 since he was ten years old, except for one, during his first deployment.

As for the car… they were hoping to get 10,000 names and be the only car without any corporate sponsors.

They didn’t get that many, so the many names will be on the car along with the main corporate sponsors.

Still, they’re hoping to get more names on the car next year.

You can read more about the effort on the CuttersRT web site.