Published in the April 2022 issue of “Die Porsche Kessette”

Ⓒ2022 Technolab /

For more information about Kart4Kids, please visit the website:

Happy Porsche'ing,

Two guys walk into a bar one day …

… sounds like the opening line to a joke, right?

Well, what happened at that coffee bar in early 2012 in St. Pete was an idea that sparked a great endeavor! 

Let me tell you about it.

Those two guys were PCA Club members and they got to talking about the recent passing of an Indy Car great: Dan Wheldon, who had been a resident of the Tampa Bay Area.  Miles Frantz, the first one to arrive at the coffee bar told Page Obenshain who met him there that they should do something to honor Dan.  He said: “Why don’t we organize a Kart race so we can generate some funds and then donate them to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital which was one of Dan and Susie Wheldon’s favorite charities?”

The idea was to organize a Pro-Am Race where a Pro driver would share his seat with some amateur racers who would pay a fee to drive.

Page loved the idea, accepted the challenge, and ran with it.

For the first event they had less than six weeks to do it.

Immediately Page contacted two people: Patrick Long and Dave Bassett.  Patrick, who was a Tampa Bay resident at the time, to ask him if he could help putting together the group of Pros and Dave to see if he would help in the organization.

They both liked the idea and agreed to help. 

Patrick (the only American Porsche factory driver) went to work recruiting drivers for the event and Dave knew the people at Andersen Park.  Initially Andersen was a vendor and Page set out to find some sponsors, one of which, Bert Smith Porsche, covered the cost of renting the track.  The event, which was run at Andersen Race Park in Palmetto, FL raised $6,400 for All Children’s and everyone was ecstatic.

Originally the event was a PCA event since every member of the organizing committee was a PCA member, but PCA later decided not to insure Kart races so the group made it an independent entity: Kart 4 Kids, Inc   501(c)3.

The first events were organized right after the 12 Hours of Sebring so it would be easier to get the Pro drivers.  Eventually, it was moved to the week before the Indy Car Grand Prix of St. Pete and the Grand Prix allowed K4K to come to the track.

Because of Covid-19 the event was moved back to Andersen which helped to cut expenses and raise the donation because Andersen Park now became a sponsor and donated the track with karts and personnel for the event.

After the second year All Children’s Hospital asked the organizers of Kart 4 Kids what were their goals. K4K said: “We want to become the primary fund raiser for the Hospital”.  That was after a $6,400 donation in 2012 and a $13,000 donation that year (2013).

There has been a long list of Pro drivers who have participated in K4K.  At one time five winners of the Indy-500 were racing together at K4K. There have also been winners of the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans and just about from every important race in the world.  Drivers from all of the big automotive racing series have been giving of their time by leading a team and also help K4K by donating signed memorabilia which gets auctioned and this accounts for a good portion of the donation to All Children’s.

After Pat Long moved to California, another Tampa Bay resident, Sébastien Bourdais (IMSA, Champ Car, Indy Car & Le Mans Champion / F1 Driver, etc., etc.), stepped in to run the Pro driver recruitment and more, as the Event Chairman.  Other changes came to be for 2022 as well.  Page and Dave became Co-Chairs and Chris Russick took the helm as K4K President.

Dave                         Chris                Sébastien                        Page

Bassett                    Russick              Bourdais                     Obenshain

I was honored and very happy to be asked to join the K4K Committee this year.  Since it’s inception I had wanted to be involved, but because I lived in Fort Lauderdale it was difficult.  Now that I’m a Tampa Bay Area resident, I’m all-in! 

Karting for me is part of my DNA.  I grew up racing them, and into adulthood, so there was no way I wouldn't get involved because even though we are all having a great time at the event, mingling with such great racing talent and all of the volunteers who are good friends, we’re also able to give back to the community and support All Children’s Hospital.

After the day’s races are over, the event moves under the tent, where the auctions (silent and not-so-silent) take place.  Drivers, sponsors, members and anyone who wants can donate memorabilia to be auctioned.  This year, Alex Palou (2021 Indy Car Series Champion) donated one of his ’21 Championship-winning driving suits. 

The bidding starts and when it halts a bit, he interjects and says: “I didn’t wash it! That must make it more valuable, No?”

The bidding continues and again slows down after a minute or so. Again Alex interjects: “I forgot to tell you that it’s a complete set!  I’ll include the boots and gloves, all signed”  Some more bids come in and when the bidding finally stalls at $16,000, the two gentlemen that had been outbidding each other, would raise their bids no more.  There was silence and neither one twitched nor hinted to raise again.  Then, again Alex says: “You know what, I’ll throw in another complete Championship-winning driver’s suit so both of these bidders can get what they want (and just like that K4K doubled the income from that donation ($32,000) which brought everyone there to loudly cheer and clap.

I also watched as some of the more tenured drivers, such as Scott Dixon, quietly but wisely kept outbidding the younger drivers time and time again in order to raise the amount of money collected from the auction.

This year’s event (2022) donated to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital the sum of $300,000...


... which makes the total accumulated donation $1,350,000!

K4K now has become the primary fund raiser for the Hospital as was the goal all along.

We have been blessed with so many wonderful volunteers and donors who make this a fantastic event.  Our gratitude also to the many sponsors who make the event viable, among them Firestone who has been with us since day 1, Bert Smith Porsche who donated the Porsche Design watch which won the silent auction and CardioAccess, our presenting sponsor.