For the seventh-consecutive year, one talented child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) will win a trip to see the car he or she designed race in a real, professional motorsport, courtesy of Motorcraft, the official recommended aftermarket part for Ford vehicles, and Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers, in an exciting contest which raises funds for JDRF.
This year, the winner will attend the Mile High NHRA Nationals, July 18-20, 2014, a professional drag race where the JDRF-themed Ford Mustang Funny Car will race at speeds faster than 300 mph.
Ford Motor Company’s relationship with JDRF – the leading global funder of T1D research – spans three decades. In 2008, Motorcraft and Quick Lane Racing joined the effort with the “Our Everyday Heroes” Race Car Design Contest.
Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Funny Car, participated as a rookie driver in 2008. Now in his seventh year as a Funny Car driver, Tasca still looks forward to JDRF week at the race track.
“It really is an honor to help spread the word about JDRF and tell the story of what these kids deal with on an everyday basis,” Tasca said. “Their strength is inspiring and the race car designs these kids come up with are just amazing.”
In six years, the race car design contest has raised more than a quarter million dollars for JDRF, the only organization with a strategic plan to end T1D.
“Thanks to the generous support of Ford, we are moved year after year by the creativity and perseverance of the young artists with type 1 diabetes who enter this contest,” said Margo K. Lucero, Vice President of Corporate Development for JDRF. “We are grateful to Ford and its dedicated employees for being champions of people with type 1 diabetes, and for helping JDRF create a world without the disease.”
Children ages 5-18 with T1D are eligible to participate. Visit Fordracecar.jdrf.org to download entry forms and official rules. Entrants will be matched to a JDRF chapter local to their area to help in the process.
Every child who enters raises money for JDRF by inviting their friends and family to “vote” through donations toward research that will help create a world without T1D.
“We have a valuable, visible platform in our race teams, and we are proud to use them to spread awareness and raise funds for such an important cause,” said Mary Lou Quesnell, Marketing Director, FCSD.
In 2013, Blake Lillicraf, 13, of Trumbull, Conn., raised $6,550 in the contest that gave him the racing experience of a lifetime. The multiple-sport athlete had just been diagnosed with T1D the previous November.
T1D is a disease in which the body’s pancreas stops producing enough insulin, a hormone that is needed to turn food into energy. People with T1D must monitor their blood sugar levels and administer insulin via shots or an insulin pump, multiple times every day. Even vigilant management does not ward against T1D complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation. JDRF is the largest charitable funder of T1D research, focused on supporting key therapies that hold significant promise in turning Type One into Type None.
During his tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, five-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., left, met with Chrysler President/CEO Pietro Gorlier.
JEGS.com/Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. was invited last week on a private tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, where he met with a handful of key executives and numerous members of the SRT group.
"It was quite a privilege to be invited up there and pretty darn exciting to see all the things going on at Chrysler," said Coughlin, a five-time champion in NHRA's Pro Stock class. "Not many people get an all-access, behind-the-scenes tour like this, so I was honored to have the chance."
The highlight of the visit was lunch with Chrysler President and CEO Pietro Gorlier in the executive dining room. Afterward, Gorlier presented Coughlin with a special shadow box to commemorate Coughlin's 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock world championship.
"To be recognized for what we do out there on the NHRA trail and know that people like Pietro are watching drag racing gives you a real sense of pride," Coughlin said. "I was thrilled to talk about our championship and how we got there together as a team, and of course we spoke at length about Mopar winning two titles in a row and how we plan to keep the momentum going forward in 2014."
Coughlin started his day visiting the SRT garages and got a sneak peek at some special future production cars as well as other unique vehicles still in the design phase.
There, he met with Russ Ruedisueli, head of SRT and motorsports engineering; Dave Bailey, senior manager of motorsports engineering; and Pat Baer, motorsports engine development.
"To have the support of these talented folks is really the difference between winning and losing," Coughlin said. "Their expertise and the facilities they have up there let you realize very quickly how serious they are about being No. 1. I'm blown away by the commitment every person on that staff has to our program."
The affable Ohioan then signed autographs for associates at CTC before his lunch with Gorlier.
After lunch, he met with Skip Olson, senior manager, accessory & performance portfolio, and Kathy Wideman, senior manager, repair portfolio, before speaking to the accessory & performance parts team.
Other Mopar executives with whom Coughlin met were Patrick Dougherty, vice president, parts sales & field operations; Tricia Hecker, director of marketing; and Frank Donnelly, senior manager, maintenance portfolio & Magneti Marelli.
"I tried to thank as many people as I could, and I let them all know how appreciative we are to have their support," Coughlin said. "They are just a wonderful group up there, and my spirit and drive for winning has definitely been bolstered."
Coughlin drove his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger to the 2013 Pro Stock championship, a year after returning to NHRA with Mopar.
Tracy Dennis, a respected and important part of the Division4 NHRA racing family, died Feb. 27 after being shot outside his home in Lubbock, Texas. He was 53.
Dennis, owner of Sunset Racecraft, a longtime Division 4 sponsor and title-rights sponsor of its Top Dragster class, allegedly was shot and killed by his ex-wife, who then turned the gun on herself. She survived her self-inflicted wound and is now in police custody.
NHRA Division 4 has lost a great racer, sponsor, friend and father,” said Division 4 Director Trey Capps. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tracy's son, Jason Dennis, and daughter, Maddie. We all know how much he loved them and how proud he was of their accomplishments. RIP Tracy, you shall forever be missed.”
Dennis, who also competed in both NHRA and IHRA Sportsman competition, opened Sunset Racecraft in 1990 and has seen his business grow to be one of the most popular engine-building shops in the Southwest.
In February, Dennis was the recipient of the prestigious Division 4 Good Guy award.
Drag racing fans can go head-to-head against racers from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on the Sonoma Raceway kart track at the 12th annual NHRA Tour de Charity.
Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, will host the fundraising event on Saturday, March 22, with all proceeds benefiting Sonoma County youth groups. The event has generated more than $122,000 since 2003.
Funny Car stars and Don Schumacher Racing teammates Ron Capps and Jack Beckman will return as the featured NHRA competitors at this year’s event. Among the most recognizable stars in the sport, Beckman is the 2012 NHRA Funny Car Champion, while Capps is fresh off his 2013 Sonoma Nationals victory. Capps and Beckman have been regular Tour de Charity participants since its inception, and look forward to returning each year.
“It’s a wonderful day, awesome group of people and it’s for a great cause,” said Beckman. “No matter the results on track, you can’t leave here without feeling fantastic.”
The event is limited to 40 fans; cost is $325 and includes a full day of karting with the drivers, autographs, lunch, and the chance to compete in a 10-lap timed qualifying event for a grand prize.
The Simraceway Performance Driving Center, which operates the karting center, provides the karts, race suits, classroom instruction and on-track pointers for all competitors. There will be giveaways during the day, and the top-10 qualifiers (race fans) will compete in a 10-lap timed race at the end of day for the NHRA Experience, which includes two tickets to the NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 25-27). All karting levels are welcome.
To reserve your seat in the NHRA Tour de Charity, visit http://sonoma.speedwaycharities.org/events/nhra_tour_de_charity_karting/. For more information, contact Cheri Plattner at 707-933-3950 or email@example.com.