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Car buff gets an Indy experience

Okotoks: Norm Castiglione gets a thrill of a lifetime by helping Foothills Country Hospice
Foothills County resident Norm Castiglione, right, gets ready to take his ride with Kyle Kaiser in an Indy Honda racing car in Toronto July 11. The ride was a gift from his wife purchased at the 2018 Foothills Country Hospice's Rally 4 Hospice.

That wasn’t centrifugal force that had a car buff’s cheeks pulled back when he reached speeds of maybe 200 mph.

It was an ear-to-ear grin.

"I don't know if I could talk or not, I couldn't get the smile off my face," said Foothills County resident Norm Castiglione after taking a lap in an Indy car in Toronto on July 11. "I had this full-mouth grin the whole way, thinking: 'Holy Smokes.'''

Castiglione took about a 3/4-mile road-course lap as a passenger. It was a gift from his wife, purchased at the 2018 Rally 4 Hospice and Gala, a fundraiser for the Foothills Country Hospice.

"My wife thought it would be a real cool thing for me to do and it was," Castiglione said from Toronto. "I drove one lap on the Indy course with the driver (Kyle Kaiser) and I think it was 200-some miles per hour. After driving one lap with him, I realized my capabilities fell far short of being able to drive the car."

He said the Indy car was adjusted to take a passenger, but is identical to the ones that will be driven at the Honda Indy Toronto races July 12-14.

It was fast.

"There are a lot of G-forces on the turns," he said. "I laughed a bit, because I was thinking 'how much faster can this be than driving a fast (non-Indy) Ferrari?'. "Well, a Ferrari is like a golf cart compared to this." 

He was surprised how stable the ride was.

"It is just amazing how the tires and the down-force from the wings can keep the car so it doesn't slide," Castiglione said. "I would never enter a turn that fast. He would enter real tight turns at about 70 mph. I was expecting we would move around, but we didn't move one little bit."

It gave him a whole new appreciation for the men and women who are racing cars.

"If they don't have coolers in their suits, I can see them loosing 30 or 40 pounds after a day of racing, it's hot," he said. "These folks are pretty fit."

The Indy car ride got the heart-thumping, but the rally and gala for the Foothills Country Hospice warms the heart.  Last year's rally and gala raised $470,000 for the hospice located just north of Okotoks.

He plans to be at the second annual Rally 4 Hospice again this year, which takes place Aug. 17.

"Our rally is more about having fun," Castiglione said. "I will probably have the Ferrari going again and probably an Astor-Martin, we will see."

The rally goes through the scenic Foothills area and there is a gala at Spruce Meadows in the evening. Entertainment at the gala includes The Duelling Pianos and a live auction by Danny Hooper.

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Bruce Campbell

About the Author: Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is the editor for and the Western Wheel newspaper. He is a graduate of Mount Royal College journalism program, 1991. For story tips contact
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