Taya Kyle takes IndyCar ride with Mario Andretti in Long Beach

Mario Andretti took Taya for a ride in the two seater IndyCar at Long Beach

Mario Andretti took Taya for a ride in the two seater IndyCar at Long Beach

Taya Kyle – military and first responder family advocate – has taken the ride of a lifetime with IndyCar and Formula 1 World Champion, Mario Andretti at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Team Ambassador for PIRTEK Team Murray and wife of famed American Sniper – Chris Kyle – was a high profile Long Beach passenger for Andretti – the only driver in history to have won the Formula 1 World Championship, Indy 500 and Daytona 500.

She will also be part of pre-race celebrations on Sunday with Grand Marshal, 10 times Boxing World Champion, Oscar De La Hoya and will be the Honorary Starter for the 40th edition of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Describing herself as the girl who preferred Hot Wheels cars to Barbies in her New York Times best-selling memoir, American Wife, Ms. Kyle is in Long Beach with PIRTEK Team Murray – who will compete in the Indianapolis 500 with 22-year-old Matt Brabham as its driver.

In a busy Friday at the world famous street circuit, Kyle announced that San Diego-based Fire Captain, Sonny Saghera would be part of the ‘CK Crew’ – a crew of veterans and first responders who will be PIRTEK Team Murray’s entry into the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge on Friday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

PIRTEK Team Murray IndyCar racer, Matt Brabham, Mario Andretti, Taya Kyle and Heartland (CA) Fire Captain, Sonny Saghera

PIRTEK Team Murray IndyCar racer, Matt Brabham, Mario Andretti, Taya Kyle and Heartland (CA) Fire Captain, Sonny Saghera

The CK Crew is being backed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and the American Sniper – Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition Blu-Ray (release date May 3) and is being formulated in association with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation – who will host 500 guests made up of military and first responder families throughout the Month of May.

Brabham – who raced at Long Beach in 2015 for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights – gave Kyle some tips before jumping aboard with Mario. Ironically, the Brabham family will sit alongside the Andrettis come May as they will both have started three generations in the Indianapolis 500.

“Wow, that was incredible, the speed and especially the braking – I’ve never done anything like that before, it was just unbelievable,” beamed Taya after the ride. “To think also that I could do this with Mario Andretti is beyond awesome. He is one of the all time greats and one of the most recognised motorsport Champions in the world.

“I cannot thank IndyCar enough for the chance. I have a totally new appreciation for what these guys do for a living after that – and how little room they have to move in the cockpit!

“When I wave the green flag on Sunday and I have 21 of these things zooming past me, I’ll look at it in a completely new light.”

Kyle also reflected on the experience to be with Captain Saghera and what the Indy 500 will mean to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.

Taya with the Holmatro Safety Crew - IndyCar's First Responder heroes

Taya with the Holmatro Safety Crew – IndyCar’s First Responder heroes

“Indy is going to be a great opportunity for us to bring so many veterans and first responders that have protected and served our country to a once-in-a-lifetime sporting event,” she added.

“The CK Crew is going nicely and we have some truly inspiring people who have done so much for the United States coming together for that Memorial Day Weekend event. We have another one to announce in New York City in the first week of May, which is going to be very special.

“The whole thing is going to be super fun and the guys we’re bringing are mega competitive – I think Matt and PIRTEK Team Murray need to be ready for a celebration – they want to win!”

Ms. Kyle will wave the flag for the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – which begins at 1:45pm local time (4:45pm EST). The race will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) from 4pm EST.

For more information on the CK Crew and PIRTEK Team Murray visit www.teammurray.com.au
For more on the work of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation visit www.chriskylefrogfoundation.org
For more on the Verizon IndyCar Series visit www.indycar.com