Jack Klein loved the Indianapolis 500.
In the first 10 years of his life he managed to embrace every part of the Indy 500 festival and enjoyed several practice days.
The Klein family rule meant that Jack would not come to the race until he turned 10 and, for him, that would mean this year’s 100th running of the race.
Sadly, Jack lost his battle to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February and his grandstand seat will sit vacant on Sunday, but he will be at the track in spirit – at 240mph, no less!
With the help of St. Baldrick’s Foundation the volunteer-powered charity dedicated to raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer, “Jack’s Pack” held numerous local and social media events.
Jack was going to be allowed to attend last year’s race, but he fell ill and was hospitalized at IU North (In Indianapolis), but that did not stop him from getting into the spirit.
He decorated his door with a track and race cars and one of his friends came to the hospital to watch the rebroadcast of the race.
Jack has posthumously been made an honorary team member of the PIRTEK Team Murray squad for Sunday’s 500-mile race.
The “Jack’s Pack” logo will proudly be carried on the #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet on Sunday as a tribute to Jack and his brave fight.
A long-time friend of the Klein family, Brad Lockhart, is also good friends with team owner, Brett “Crusher” Murray.
Jack’s parents, John and Rebecca, visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway to help place a “Jack’s Pack” sticker on the #61 entry which will be driven by 22 -year-old rookie Matt Brabham, who will become just the third third-generation driver to start the race.
“Jack loved car racing and was a true Hoosier IndyCar fan,” said John Klein.
“He loved the 500 Festival and he was a routine participant in the Rookie Run and 500 Kids Day and attended the parade every year.
“It will be a tough day for all his family and friends on Sunday, but he would have thought it was pretty cool to have his Jack’s Pack logo on a car.
“We would like to thank ‘Crusher’ and the entire PIRTEK Team Murray crew for honoring Jack in such a way and helping us bring awareness to the Jack’s Pack campaign.
“It would be wonderful to see them all in victory lane on Sunday – we will be cheering for them.”
“When Brad (Lockhart) told me of Jack’s story, it smashed me,” said Murray.
“There is nothing in the world that brings you back to reality more quickly than a sick child and while I did not know Jack, he represented so many sick children in the US and around the world who put up a hell of a fight day after day.
“This is an easy thing for us to do and hopefully brings some attention to the Jack’s Pack campaign and, more importantly, reminds people of the toughness of a brave little Hoosier who should have been in the stands for the first time on Sunday.
“It was wonderful to meet John and Rebecca and for them to help us put the Jack’s Pack logo on the car. I know their family will be cheering us on come Sunday and hopefully Jack is looking on from somewhere with a smile on his face.
“Matt’s grandfather Sir Jack Brabham started the rear engined revolution here in 1961 and he sadly left us two year ago. I know now we will proudly have two Jacks looking down on us on Sunday.”
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