On September 29, the Crystal Chapter of the Navajo Nation in Crystal, New Mexico will honor Cory Witherill, the first full-blooded Native American ever to race in the Indy 500. “I am very honored to be recognized by the chapter,” said Witherill. “During my bid to race in the Indy, I received so many e-mails and good wishes from the Native American community. I’m very happy to have an opportunity to come to the reservation to meet some of my fans.”
“Crystal is fortunate to have Cory Witherill come to our community for a day,” said Keith Little, Crystal Chapter President. “It is important to Crystal that Mr. Witherill is able to spare some of his valuable time with us. It is rare that our community ever gets a celebrity of that quality to visit, especially one that is a Navajo. Cory has that rare quality not to dwell on his misfortunes, but to go forward and meet life’s challenges and be successful. He has special abilities that will serve as an incentive for our youngsters in making their dreams come true.”
The Crystal Chapter is planning a full day of activities for the day. “We would like to have family activities to make it fun for community members and those from other areas who would like to come and participate. The event is open to the public and we would like to invite as many young people as possible,” said Kumen Louis, spokesman for the committee.
Some of the activities presently scheduled are a fun run with Cory Witherill T-shirts going to the first 50 registered runners, race related games, a program featuring Witherill and his racing career, and a community dinner. Cory will be bringing the car that he drove in the Indy 500 for display, as well as “hero-cards” for autographs. Revolver, a popular band from Crystal, will be providing entertainment. Events will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until 3 p.m.
Cory Witherill has been racing since he was fifteen years old, getting his start in Motocross. From cycles, he moved up to off-road racing, where he holds numerous titles and is still considered to be “the man to beat” in off road racing. His open wheel career started in 1998 when he began running in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series.