By: Tanner Watkins
May 9, 2019 | 1:00 PM
There are some sponsors in auto racing that are just plain simple to get behind, and Driven2SaveLives is one of them.
As an arm of the Indiana Donor Network, Driven2SaveLives was founded in April 2016. The reason? To utilize the tightly-knit network found in motorsport to encourage individuals to become registered organ donors.
The campaign works to elevate the conversation about organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation through motorsports by honoring IndyCar donor hero Justin Wilson as well as IndyCar and USAC donor hero Bryan Clauson.
Both drivers died in racing accidents after making the decision to become organ donors, and each were able to save five lives in their passing. In particular, Clauson’s decision to become an organ donor before his passing affected a pair of Dan’s.
Dan Alexander was a U.S. Marine veteran who suffered a massive heart attack in 2013, and after going on the heart transplant waiting list that same year, it wasn’t until Bryan’s heart became available in 2016 that Dan received his life-saving heart transplant.
Shift gears to Dan Gerdes, and Bryan’s lungs were able to make a difference in another man’s life. Gerdes had been born with cystic fibrosis and had countered the issue throughout his life with six-hour treatments each day. In 2016, the condition of his lungs had deteriorated so greatly that he was placed on the double-lung transplant list. After just five days of waiting, Bryan’s lungs became available and Dan received a life-altering, life-saving transplant.
In total, 114,000 people across the United States are currently waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and Driven2SaveLives uses motorsport to help add individuals to the organ donor list.
By affiliating with various drivers, tracks and racing series across the country, Driven2SaveLives is making a real impact in the state of Indiana and beyond. In 2016, D2SL sponsored Stefan Wilson at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – an emotional venture after Wilson’s brother Justin was lost in an IndyCar accident at Pocono Raceway in August 2015.
Stefan served as an incredible representative of D2SL over the past few years, finishing 28th in his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2016 before picking up an eye-opening 15th place finish last year. In 2017, Wilson graciously gave up his ride with Andretti Autosport to allow Fernando Alonso to take his place in the 101st Indianapolis 500 – a sign of the underlying character traits Driven2SaveLives tries to find in their driver representatives.
In 2019, Driven2SaveLives is teaming up with Clauson-Marshall Racing – the United States Auto Club national sprint car championship team bearing Bryan Clauson’s name – to field an entry for Pippa Mann in the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
Through a partnership with Ross Motorsports and the Indiana Donor Network, Mann will attempt to qualify for her seventh Indianapolis 500 this May.
As a former teammate of Bryan, Mann understands the importance of not only carrying on in remembrance of him, but continuing the legacy he left while bringing awareness to the immensely important topic of organ donation.
“I am so thankful for this opportunity to join Clauson-Marshall Racing for their first Indianapolis 500,” said Mann in a release this spring. “This is more than just a car entry to me and the journey has been an emotional one.
“Carrying the No. 39 and the Driven2SaveLives campaign on my Chevy entry is an honor that I don’t take lightly, and I’m grateful to Tim Clauson, Richard Marshall and Stanley Ross for believing in me.”
The announced Indianapolis 500 effort ties together Driven2SaveLives presence at both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as the dirt sprint car racing ranks.
Since 2016, D2SL has had booth presence throughout the month of May at IMS and the campaign upped the ante in 2018 by sponsoring the BC39 dirt sprint car race at the Speedway. That partnership has been renewed for 2019 and further reinforces the racing community’s support of this tremendous cause – a sentiment echoed by IMS president J. Douglas Boles.
“We’re pleased to see Indiana Donor Network continue its involvement in the Indianapolis 500, especially after our successful partnership last year in the inaugural Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink at the dirt track,” Boles relayed.
“It’s even more gratifying to see Indiana Donor Network’s relationship with Clauson-Marshall Racing grow into support that is helping one of USAC’s best race teams climb to the Indy 500 and continue the legacy of Bryan Clauson both on short tracks and at the Speedway.”
Driven2SaveLives will once again have a display set up in the former Formula One garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May. They can be found in garage stalls 20 and 21 near Gasoline Alley.
One donor can save up to eight lives via organ donation, and heal an additional 75 people through tissue and cornea donation. You can register to become an organ donor by visiting your local BMV or by checking out RegisterMe.org. Learn more about Driven2SaveLives by visiting their official website here.
Mann will begin her preparations for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday, May 14 when the track opens for official “500” practice. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for continued coverage of her efforts to make the 33-car field as well as detailed Indianapolis 500 coverage across the NTT IndyCar Series.
Header image by Christopher Owens/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.