When Lucy Heslin saw Scott Dixon crash out of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil last month, the 9-year-old who just finished second grade at St. Luke’s Catholic School in Indianapolis became upset and went to her room to compose herself.
The next morning, she asked her mother if she could find INDYCAR’s address to send a letter she had written thanking the sanctioning body for keeping her favorite driver safe.
“We folded up the paper and put it in an envelope,” said Mandy Heslin, Lucy's mom. “We thought maybe the best thing would be someone would read it and let Scott know he had a young fan. We didn’t expect any of this.”
Jake Query, a member of the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcast team, got a look at the letter on a visit to the INDYCAR office and shared it with his followers on Twitter. It went viral in Indianapolis, with local television stations and the Indianapolis Star sharing it.
Among the many people who saw the letter and its response was Dixon, the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion. In his own Twitter response, Dixon said he hoped to meet Lucy one day, give her a big hug and invite her to a race.
“It was very touching from the first point of (Jake) posting it on Twitter and then my phone started to blow up with calls and text messages about this very sweet letter from Lucy,” Dixon said. “It was very surreal to get back from Le Mans this week and actually get to meet Lucy.”
With the help of INDYCAR, Query and Dixon surprised Lucy at her home on Wednesday bearing gifts, including a signed set of racing gloves that Dixon used during the Month of May. Watch how it unfolded and for Lucy's reaction here:
After sharing their hug, Dixon and Lucy spent time talking racing (she became an Indy car fan because she said there wasn’t enough action in Formula One and she fell head over heels for Dixon), Harry Potter (Dixon’s oldest daughter Poppy, like Lucy, has started reading and loves the book series) and compared recent trips to Florida to visit Universal Studios to see "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter."
“You guys did a good job and sneakily had her come to the car and I was there waiting,” said Dixon, who told the Heslins that he often runs past their house while training for Verizon IndyCar Series events.
“It was great to see her expression and to give her a big hug and a big thank you for the letter she wrote and the concern that she showed for myself and my fellow drivers who have had big crashes. It’s touching to see someone so young who adores INDYCAR and that’s very special for the future of the sport, but also for me to meet this lovely little girl, who turns out is almost a neighbor.”