, Joe Montana, Laila Ali, Bode Miller and Serena Williams have more in common than being great in their respective sports. They are now part of an Indy 500 race team, Luczo Dragon Racing, that will raise money and awareness for charity during the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, it was announced today. The annual charity drive raised $500,000 in 2007.
Each year, Luczo Dragon Racing partners with 12 champion athletes, to match their #12 Symantec car, and donates approximately half of its racing profits to the charities supported by the athletes. This year's team of champions is the Sharks Joe Thornton
, boxer Laila Ali, swimmer Natalie Coughlin, Hall of Fame boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, World Champion skier Bode Miller, four-time Super Bowl winner Joe Montana, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, four-time World Series champion Joe Torre and tennis greats Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
The LDR community development program was designed to raise money, increase exposure to the sport of auto racing and encourage a philanthropic spirit that inspires others to make an impact in their communities.
"There are just not enough rich people in the world to write checks big enough that will solve the problems we are all facing with respect to hunger, at risk children and the environment. It's just not sustainable," Luczo Dragon Racing co-owner Steve Luczo said. "We wanted to build an economic engine in sports that is sustainable, gets more people involved and can make a significant impact on our communities."
LDR formed its first team of celebrities for the 2007 Indianapolis 500. The team included Marcus Allen, Jackson Browne, Brandi Chastain, Baron Davis, Tony Dungy, John Elway, Wayne Gretzky, Ronnie Lott, Jonny Moseley, Chris Mullin, Kerri Walsh and Kristi Yamaguchi. When the #12 Symantec car finished fifth they generated $500,000 for the charities. This year, with driver Tomas Scheckter behind the wheel, the #12 car was a first day qualifier and will start 11th.
Combined the 2007 and 2008 Luczo Dragon Racing’s team of champions have won 13 Super Bowls, 15 Olympic Gold Medals, 28 Grand Slam victories, 23 World Championships, 10 Wimbledon titles, five World Series titles, four Stanley Cups, four Indy 500 championships, six US Open crowns, 17 League MVPs, five Super Bowl MVPs, one Heisman Trophy, 11 Hall of Fame inductions and more than 100 All-Star team selections.