By Amy Konrath

Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:

1. Snowball Express uses Plowman, INDYCAR to Strengthen Mission

2. Power gets beat at Infineon promo event

3. Patrick is third-highest paid athlete

1. Snowball Express uses Plowman, INDYCAR to Strengthen Mission: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Martin Plowman is teaming up with Snowball Express for his three IZOD IndyCar series races in 2011 and will carry the Snowball Express logo on his #17 AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsport car in the IZOD IndyCar Series events at Mid-Ohio, Infineon, and Baltimore.

Snowball Express is a 501(c)3 organization created in 2006, whose mission is to provide hope and new memories for the children of our fallen military men and women since 9/11. Anchored by the main Snowball Express event in Dallas each holiday season, Snowball Express provides each child with an unforgettable all-expenses paid trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area filled with laughter, celebrity, and healing. Past trips have included concerts, memorial activities, rodeos, a full day at Six Flags, and a special party with the Dallas Cowboys players and cheerleaders at the new stadium.

“Every one of our kids has lost a parent while serving in the military since September 11, 2001 Francis “Buck” Kern, chairman of the Snowball Express Board of Directors explains, Our goal is to bring these kids together…to bond, heal, experience camaraderie with one another and hopefully help give them back a little bit of their childhood. We want them to know that this great country supports them, hasn’t forgotten them and wants to help them through a tough time.”

This partnership seems natural for the young rookie. Martin has understood from childhood that “to whom much is given, much of him shall be required.” His parents instilled in him the character and drive to serve others. Even from a young age, Martin was an advocate for Karting for the Disabled and sponsors a scholarship each year to help a young driver have the opportunities he did.

“I feel it’s my duty, as I start to create a name for myself, to use that name to help others,” said Plowman. “I have been successful because of a great number of people in my life, and I serve the community so I can pay it forward.”

The military connection is not foreign to the 23-year old Brit. He was selected to represent the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series on the Indy 500 Centennial Tour. In a special effort, Martin raised over $20,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and Help for Heroes, when he had his head shaved on the USS Lincoln. He has also been seen spending the day with our wounded veterans at the recently closed Walter Reed Hospital.

“It is only because of our Armed Forces that we are able to live freely. If it weren’t for the brave men and women who serve our country, I would not be in such a fortunate place in my life. Their sacrifice, and their family’s sacrifice, should never be forgotten or unappreciated. Fortunately, Snowball Express is filling a need – giving these families a chance to rebuild their happiness with people who know exactly what they’re going through.

“I am honored to serve as the official IndyCar driver for Snowball Express. I jumped at the opportunity, and hope that I can spread the word to families who qualify for the program. I’m most excited to attend the Snowball Express event in Dallas and to meet the families.”

In addition to Snowball Express in Dallas, the organization arranges smaller, localized “Snowflake Events,” one of which was the Brickyard 400. The IZOD IndyCar Series has arranged to host several families at each of the races in which Martin will be driving – Mid-Ohio, Sonoma, and Baltimore.

2. Power gets beat at Infineon promo event: Will Power quickly got the beat Aug. 1 during a visit to San Francisco’s Blue Bear School of Music at Fort Mason.

Power, the defending champion of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway (Aug. 26-28), joined several young students for a special jam session at the historic music school.

Power played the drums and was accompanied by instructors and students from the school, including Tennessee Mowry on bass, Matt Saunders on guitar, Ellie Cope on keyboard and Lily Burns on vocals. The group played a few tunes during a brief jam session, including “Let the Good Times Roll” by The Cars and “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites.

“That was really fun. I loved it and want to come back to get some tips,” said Power, who had never played with a band before the session. “These students were amazing, and I can see that you would really learn a lot here.”

Power also had a chance to interact with the students, who were participating in the school’s Songwriting II camp. The Blue Bear School of Music is San Francisco’s leading destination for musicians of all ages who want to enjoy learning and playing rock, blues, jazz, folk or pop.

The school, a nonprofit organization founded in 1971, has more than 1,700 members.

“He did a really good job. Playing music with someone is such a cool experience and a great way to connect with other people. I was really impressed with how well he did,” said Mowry, who has attended the Blue Bear summer camps for nine years.

Power will be among the drivers competing in the seventh annual Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, which has had six different winners. Tickets, including special packages featuring Mario Andretti and Danica Patrick, are available by calling 800-870-RACE or at
“It always feels great to come back to a place where you’ve had a good result,” said Power, who enters the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this weekend coming off a victory in Edmonton, Alberta. “We’ve had some really tight competition this year, and it’s going to be a great race in Sonoma. You’ve got to be smart to get the best out of that tough road course, and I’m looking forward to it.”

3. Patrick is third-highest paid athlete:Danica Patrick is the third highest-paid female athlete at $12 million, according to earnings estimates by

Patrick, who’s competing in her seventh IZOD IndyCar Series season, has one victory and 60 top-10 finishes in 109 races. Her ninth-place finish in the Edmonton Indy on July 24, in which she advanced from the 22nd starting position, was voted the Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race via the poll on

Patrick will be among the 27 competitors in the Honda Indy 200 this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 7 Team GoDaddy car for Andretti Autosport.

Maria Sharapova, who only recently has bounced back on the court, is the world’s highest-paid female athlete for the seventh consecutive year. She earned $25 million over the past 12 months, which is double No. 2 on the list — 21-year-old tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

Forbes’ earnings estimates were for the 12 months ending July 1 and factored in prize money, salaries, appearance fees, licensing income and endorsements. Tennis players dominate the list (seven of top 10).


The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be televised live at 2 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres on Aug. 7 at the streets of Trois Rivieres. It will be televised on tape delay by VERSUS at 4 p.m. on Aug. 17.