INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Marcus Armstong’s No. 11 Honda-powered car will come with all the usual trimmings for this weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix — speed, sponsors and a shiny new paint job.

The second-year driver also will be carrying a message of hope.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced Thursday that it has partnered with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and Schwartz Partners to field a crimson-and-cream, scientifically-based paint scheme that pays tribute to cancer patients.

“We were, just as a family, wanting to bring awareness to the center that doctor (Kelvin Lee) is a part of and as a community, how fortunate we are to have a facility like this,” said John Schwartz, the general manager of the family’s company. “We want to make sure people understand what we really have here.”

It’s a message that hits home for Ganassi’s team and the 23-year-old driver from New Zealand, who made 12 starts last season.

Schwartz’s brother, Jeff, died in November after battling the disease. Jeff Schwarz had been the CEO of Schwartz Partners and he and his wife, Jill, served as board members for the Simon Cancer Center since 2019.

Barry Wanser, team manager for defending IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, also was treated for throat cancer late last year and missed the season’s final few races. He returned to the team this season following surgery and chemotherapy.

“It’s something that touches all of us,” Armstrong said. “When you’re watching a race, it’s a great way to distract yourself from things like this, but it’s also a good way to raise awareness. And once again, I feel like it’s close to our hearts because Barry was diagnosed last year and it was actually this race in August that he told me about it.”

Armstrong had five top-10 finishes in 2023, including a season-best sixth at Toronto. This year, he has added ovals to his schedule and has posted two more top-10s in four starts, including a career-best fifth at Long Beach.

Practice and qualifying for the Indy GP are scheduled for Friday. The race is slated to be run Saturday on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.

The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 26 on the track’s traditional 2.5-mile oval.

___

AP Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing