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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

The Better-Half Invitational: Now it´s the Indy Girls' Time

Updated: May 25, 2020

Current IndyCar wives and girlfriends went behind the wheel to race virtually for a good cause: 19 drivers filled the charity event's field. And it was proper Indy racing!

Photo by iRacing / Better Half Invitational

There were names such as Emma Davies-Dixon, Liz Power, Becky Hinchcliffe and Karli Woods, Robert Wickens` wife. All were on the grid ready to start the engines for this never-seen before charity event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in what would have been the Memorial Day big event.

The "Better-Half Invitational" powered by Simplicity Juice is a two-race iRacing competition created by Becky Dalton and her husband James Hinchfliffe: in the past months, their husbands and boyfriends were absorbed by the latest upsurge of simracing: many practice and qualifying sessions, races...hour after hour. Now it was their turn to show that the girls can also be really serious on the racing simulator; consulted by their pro-drivers partners, the ladies practiced and spent a lot of hours on the sim rig.

Each driver had a 100 dollar buy-in and the whole price money would be donated to a charity of the winner's choice.

And then - the event began!

The qualification for race 1 was decided by Claire Bourdais' performance ahead of Riley Flynn (Colton Herta's girlfriend) and Lauren Kanaan. Claire Bourdias led from the start, before the first big crash happened on the second lap in the midfield: two cars made contact and one of them went across the track, crashing into the approaching competitors.

With damage deactivated, all the ladies were able to continue the race. Lauran Kanaan led the field at the restart on lap 5.

On lap 12, the next big accident happened as one of the girls crashed into the wall head-on and more drivers spun.

We saw many flying cars while Lauren Kanaan and Claire Bourdais fought for victory. Behind them, Emma Dixon tagged another car and dropped back through the field. The fight at the top between Lauren Kanaan, Gracie Norton and Claire Bourdais was on fire for the last laps: many switches for the lead after, Lauren Kanaan unfortunately flipped Claire Bourdais and took her out of the front runners' battle with just one lap to go. It was then a photo-finish end beween Lauren Kanaan, Gracie Norton and Becky Hinchcliffe, with Norton having the best outcome.

In the second race, Karli Wickens started from pole due to the reverse grid, right ahead of Claire Bourdais and Riley Flinn.

Karli Wickens and Claire Bourdais cleared the start and pulled away from Flynn. At the back, Marta Andretti tried to drive through the wall before she returned to the racetrack.

On lap 3, Heather Carpenter was touched by another car and went upside down several times across the track and dropped back.

The next green-flag phase didn´t last long, as some more crashes occurred at the back of the field and ensured some more chaos. As more flying cars mixed the race up, Claire Bourdais, Emma Dixon, Gracie Norton and Lauren Kanaan fought for the win again.

Dixon ran in front as her car - for unknown reason, maybe a bug - flipped over and wiped her out of victory's contention. Lauren Kanaan quickly took the chance to pull away from Kelly Mossop, girlfriend of Alex Rossi, and won the second race. Gracie Norton was third, ahead of Claire Bourdais, the French woman again protagonist of an amazing race.

Overall winner Lauren Kanaan destined the prize money for Riley Children´s Foundation which supports Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana’s only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of kids.

A lot of fun; a lot of chaos; a lot of great racing. And all for a good cause - A successful evening for the IndyCar first ladies!

Karli Wickens:

"Over $4,600 raised for Riley Children´s Foundation and #betterhalfinvitational was #1 trending on Twitter in Indy today!
What a fun event! Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch & everyone who made this event possible. Just a heads up the donations are still open until the end of the day 🧡
Congratulations Lauren Kanaan on winning!!!"

Marta Andretti:

"Ok I am making Marco buy a sim for next time haha . Doesn’t help if we don’t own one but it was so much fun !!!!! Had a blast 🧡"

James Hinchcliffe:

"Let’s be honest, it's a miracle they married us in the first place, an even bigger feat that they stayed with us during the iRacing days. So we’re giving back!"


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