Organization helps raise funds for headstone for racers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An organization is hoping to raise funds for headstones for race car drivers and mechanics who have lost their lives, including some right here in Indiana.

The Racers at Rest Project has already raised funds to help get headstones for drivers across the country. Susannah Stapp is a volunteer for the organization in Indianapolis. She comes from a racing family and it was her connection and family history with one of the drivers that motivated her to help out. Stapp's grandfather, Babe Stapp, was a driver in the 1930s. His riding mechanic, Lawson Harris died during an accident on the track in 1939.

"They actually were running down the front straightaway, they hit the fence. Lawson was thrown and hit his head and died later on at the hospital," Stapp said.

Stapp said she hopes to not only find Harris' family, but to also have them attend a ceremony at Crown Hill Cemetery where Harris is buried. Right now, Harris doesn't have a headstone, or any grave marker notifying people where he is buried. After fundraising and the help of a local gravestone designer, enough money was raised for a headstone for Harris and four other Indiana racers.

"There are many reasons why they didn't get a headstone. They could have been racing away from where they live and it's expensive to transport them back home, so they buried them where they died," Stapp said.

The organization is hoping to have all five Indiana headstones in place in a few months. They're encouraging others to come forward who may have a loved one or friend who is a former race car driver or mechanic without a headstone.

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