What is covered in spots, red and blue stripes, has a skyline and a music scale? The answer: Kasey Kahne’s newest No. 5 race car. This July at Daytona International Speedway, Kahne will drive the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS with a very special paint scheme that’s guaranteed to turn a few heads. But, what makes the car truly unique is the fact that it was designed by 8-year-old Noelia Gutierrez, a cancer patient at Seattle Children’s.
Noelia’s car design was inspired by all her favorite things – Barcelona FC soccer team, jaguars, singing and Seattle’s iconic skyline.
Her hope is that all of her favorite things will inspire Kahne as he races to reach the checkered flag.
A winning design
Noelia, along with several other cancer patients at Seattle Children’s, were given the opportunity to submit paint scheme designs for the car in a recent contest hosted by Great Clips. Noelia’s design was chosen by Kahne personally as one of the final four designs. A week later, after an online vote, she found out she won!
“When Noelia found out she won we were at Seattle Children’s,” said Noelia’s mother, Emilia Gutierrez. “She was screaming and jumping, but she was also trying not to be too loud since we were in the hospital. She was so excited! We couldn’t believe it.”
Getting to the finish line
Noelia was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March 2015. She’s been in and out of the hospital for treatment ever since.
“It’s been a really difficult time for us,” said Gutierrez. “She’s very strong though. She’s a fighter.”
Noelia put a lot of thought into her design. She stayed up day and night while in the hospital coloring the mock-up of the car and then begged her nurse to make sure she was entered into the contest.
“She’s so happy,” said Gutierrez. “Now she wishes she could watch the race live, meet the race car drivers, and touch the car. I’m so proud of my daughter. It’s really turned things around for us.”
Since winning the contest, Noelia has become a big fan of Kahne. The only thing left to say is, “Good Luck.”
“I really want to thank Kasey for choosing my design,” said Noelia. “Ten thousand times good luck, Kasey. I know you’re going to win.”
And we do too!
Last year, The DRIVE presented a $400,000 check to Seattle Children’s Hospital and its Strong Against Cancer initiative. The donation aids research that supports immunotherapy – a medical treatment that harnesses the power of a child’s immune cells to fight cancer. The technique helps reduce the need for chemotherapy and radiation and the harsh side effects that are hard on a child’s growing body.