Everyone in the BRAKES office packing up goody bags for the golfers
Hi blog fans. It’s been a busy past few weeks!
Our season for BRAKES schools is really getting ramped up. So far this year we have already trained over 1,000 teens, by the end of the year BRAKES will have trained over 5,000 teens this year and over 20,000 since we started in 2008 after Jon and James’ accident. This year we have added new school locations in Detroit, Boston, and San Francisco. If you have a teen driver, or even if you just know a teen driver please get them to attend a brakes driving program, not only will they learn about driving it will be fun too!
The races here at my hometown track, ZMax Dragway last weekend really kept us busy. On Thursday before the race we had our annual BRAKES golf tournament and on Saturday we had our Pancake Breakfast at the track.
This year’s golf tournament was really one to remember! Along with my NHRA drag racing buddies Allen Johnson, Steve Johnson, Matt Hagan, Clay Millican, Ron Capps, Mike Neff, Leah Pritchett, Larry Dixon and Angelle Sampey, we were also joined by my friend and racing legend Shirley Muldowney, NASCAR legend Junior Johnson and last weekend’s NASCAR winner, Denny Hamlin. What a fun day! Huge thanks to everyone that supported the event, we raised enough support to train several hundred more teens behind the wheel with BRAKES.
My golf team was pretty darn good! Jon Oberhofer from Kalitta’s team, Dylan Kwasniewski from Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates Racing and our superstar golfer Stephanie Rivera, whose husband is Ron Rivera from the NFL.
One of the absolute coolest things was a huge golf ball rifle! Everyone enjoyed taking shots with it; it actually shot the ball almost 400 yards. I think I need to carry one of these in my golf bag!
The track was wet on Friday...
Even Jessie likes coming out the track and watching the Four-Wide Nationals. I was happy to have her join me! Throughout the weekend I was able to join Alan Reinhart during the Top Fuel and Funny Car sessions. Talking about nitro cars is one thing that I really like!
In other sports news, Mimi and I took in some fun professional sports games here in Charlotte over the past month. Mimi has turned me into quite a sports fanatic going to baseball, basketball, hockey and football. Living here in Charlotte, N.C., we sure have plenty of fun things to do and now that the weather is good I'm sure looking forward to more good times outside.
Another thing that Mimi and I have been doing lots of is attending charity events around Charlotte. This past weekend we were able to attend the Navy SEALs Family foundation Gala. The list of speakers was impressive, Navy SEALs and even the former head of the CIA. The best thing is they raised lots of money for the Navy SEAL families that need help. On Sunday of the ZMax race I was able to take former Navy SEAL John Galt to the races with me. I thought I was a big guy, but John makes me look small. I would not want to be the one to meet him in a dark alley!
I have had a couple potential sponsor meetings with companies that could support a return to NHRA Top Fuel racing and also getting the land speed race car running. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Until next time …
It's been a while since my last blog update so let me do my best to try and get you caught up, lots of changes!
First of all the B.R.A.K.E.S. teen driver charity is doing incredibly well! Since starting the program in 2008 after losing Jon and James B.R.A.K.E.S. has trained more than 15,000 teens in advanced behind the wheel defensive accident avoidance training.
In addition to training teens we have done quite a bit of work building awareness about the problem of teen driver accidents. Before my boys accident I did not realize that auto accidents are the number one killer of teens, between 5,000-6,000 teens are lost each year and another 500,000 are sent to the emergency room with life threatening injuries.
The big thing that I get asked about all the time is when I will be back in a Top Fuel dragster. The answer is easy: I am ready to go! There is nothing in the world that I love more than racing a NHRA Top Fuel dragster, so hopefully one of these sponsors that we have been working on will pull the trigger and help us get a race team back on the track and the sooner the better!
I have been to some incredible places and events over the past several months so let me catch you up on some of these.
Early last year my personal and business life had some changes but things are really getting to a great place now! Thanks to all my friends and family for the help and support.
My sister, her husband Mike, the kids and me at Mike's change of command ceremony
Many of you that have been following me for years know that my sister is a JAG officer in the Army. Well, last summer her husband, Mike Binetti, was promoted to commander of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, the U.S. Army base just outside of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii! What a BIG DEAL! So, being the nice brother/brother in law that I am, I agreed to join them for the change in command ceremony. It was INCREDIBLE. I would guess that at least a 1,000 soldiers there in full uniform, not to mention a full marching band. So me, being the idiot that I am, asked my sister, "So sis, this is a big deal how many guys are being promoted today?" She looked at me in shock and said "Doug, you idiot, this is just for Mike. He's a big deal!" I was like, oh WOW, how could I be so stupid! Anyways, it was very cool and I was honored to be there!
So many of my great NHRA friends have been huge supporters to the B.R.A.K.E.S. charity and for that I am super grateful! These friends have supported me and B.R.A.K.ES. through some tough times. Everyone is busy but for them to take time from their busy schedule to join us at a B.R.A.K.E.S. event means A LOT! Super big thank you to all of them. I have included a bunch of pictures from these events, they are great fun and I would invite everyone to come join us. We always post upcoming events to the www.putonthebrakes.com web site or follow on my Facebook or twitter pages to keep up to date.
One of the other very cool things I have been doing is a weekly radio show called "The Straight Line" on MRN Radio. MRN is actually owned by NASCAR so the fact that they have a weekly radio show that covers NHRA Drag Racing is pretty darn cool! Tune in to listen on Wednesdays at Noon Eastern time or if you can’t tune in then you can just go to iHeart radio or Stitcher to download a podcast of the broadcast.
Lunch at the National Press Club
Last fall, Mimi, Matt from B.R.A.K.E.S. and I made a trip up to Washington D.C. with our friends from KIA to talk with Congress and House folks about B.R.A.K.E.S. and the teen-driving issues that we have here in the U.S. We had some great meetings and even got to have lunch at the National Press Club in Washington. I have only been to Washington a couple times and I was amazed at everything there is to see. If you ever have a chance, do NOT miss taking some time to visit our nation’s capital!
Last month we started the 2015 B.R.A.K.E.S. classes and in addition to the monthly training programs that we hold here in Charlotte at the ZMAX Dragway we are also having schools in Pomona, Raleigh, New England, San Francisco, and more new locations that will be announced soon.
This month will be a busy month! In addition to B.R.A.K.E.S. schools we have our 7th annual golf tournament coming up on Thursday March 26 and also a pancake breakfast at ZMAX Dragway on Saturday morning March 28 in the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area in the pits during theFour-Wide race. If you are a golf player or even if you just like to eat some pancakes come join us for some fun!
Check back again soon and I will try to do a better job keeping this blog updated!
It actually does snow here in Carolina
Hello blog fans! Several good things have happened since my last blog update so here let me bring you up to speed!
A few weeks ago we had a rare snowstorm here in Charlotte N.C. The good part about that is some of our local ski resorts in Boone, N.C., got some pretty good snow, so I took Jessie and her good buddy Kristin skiing at Sugar Mountain. We had a great time and luckily no broken bones!
Another fun thing is that I was able to join my friend judge Ola Lewis at one of her events. She is running for Supreme Court chief justice in North Carolina. If you live in North Carolina check her out. Common sense politics!
One of the best things that has happened is that NBC News came to my shop and also to Bristol, Tenn., to do a Feature on the "Making a Difference" segment on the NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams Janet Shamlian from NBC was with us and she did an excellent job! Many thanks to Janet, producer Doug and Brian Williams for learning about BRAKES and helping us get the word out about what we are doing to help keep teens safer on the road. I am doing everything I can to make my boys proud.
Here is a link to the NBC news story:
Very special thanks to my friend and super good guy, Pro Stock champ Allen Johnson for giving the BRAKES charity the support to bring the school up to Allen's hometown track, Bristol. While at Bristol I ran into this GIANT picture of the boss, Bruton Smith. I thought that was great! Every one of Bruton’s tracks are the most fan friendly locations and also some of the best racing surfaces. If you have ever been to Charlotte, Bristol, Sonoma, Las Vegas, Atlanta Motor Speedway or Texas Motor Speedway, you know what I mean.
Jessie and I have had a chance to take in a few fun sporting events here in Charlotte including the Charlotte Checkers game thanks to my buddy Pmac. And then we also scored some excellent front-row seats to the Charlotte Bobcats game thanks to my friend Mimi and Legacy talent group.
Congrats to my buddy Alexis DeJoria on her first WIN last week at Phoenix! Great job to her and also the Kalitta team. They really have Dougs car flying too. I am pretty sure more wins will be coming for them really soon.
That’s about all I have for now. Working hard to try and get a Top Fuel car on track with ME behind the wheel really soon. Stay tuned!
Until next time, be safe!
With Colonel Grey from the N.C. Highway Patrol
Hello blog fans. Once again I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last update. I was trying to hold on until I had some really good news to announce. Unfortunately I don’t have that yet but I still have hope for racing full time in 2014 so hang in there with me.
First of all I want to wish everyone a great start to 2014. Happy New Year!
To wrap up the end of 2013 I really had some great things happen. We had an incredible Charity Gala prior to the fall countdown race at ZMax Dragway. It was a great event and if you have a chance to come to the fall ZMax race please join us for the B.R.A.K.E.S. gala, you won’t be sorry that you did.
One of the best was forming a safe driver partnership with B.R.A.K.ES. and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. To have the endorsement of the State Troopers and Colonel Grey has really brought some great attention to B.R.A.K.E.S. and our mission to keeps teens from getting into car accidents. We had our 1st ever B.R.A.K.E.S. program in our North Carolina State Capitol of Raleigh at the Highway Patrol training center, they have an incredible facility there and it was a great place to teach teens about responsible driving.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend we held a B.R.A.K.E.S. school at the Pomona Fairplex Auto Club Raceway. It was a good opportunity to visit my Mom and luckily Jessie was able to come along. We had a great time out in So Cal! My Mom took us on the Amtrak train to San Diego to visit the world famous San Diego Zoo. What an incredible place that zoo is! If you ever get a chance to go there don’t miss the opportunity.
The schools at Pomona were great! Several of my racing buddies came by to see us and talk to the teen drivers including Jack Beckman & Jeff Arend. Having them come by to witness the program and talk to the families is really meaningful, not only for me but for the teens and the families and these guys are just great! Jack always has a special way to incorporate some of his personal experiences into a learning lesson and that is always really cool!
We also had the California Highway Patrol join us for the Pomona classes. It’s really good for these guys to come talk to the teens and help them understand the job that they are trying to do on the roads and how to interact with the police when pulled over.
During the final classes of 2013 B.R.AK.E.S. actually trained our 10,000th teen driver. I would have never realized we were going to accomplish this when we started five years ago after Jon and James’ accident, I think we have made them proud.
Every December one of the great things I get a chance to do is to join all my racing friends at the “Stocks for Tots” event. All of the NASCAR and local NHRA racers get together and put a great event on for the fans and to raise money for some of the local children’s charities. This year they put all of the drag racers together and I had a chance to have some great conversations with Jason Line and Greg Anderson. It sounds like they are working really hard to get their KB Racing cars back to their desired form.
Where I live here in Charlotte, N.C.. has been pretty revved up about football and the Carolina Panthers. A couple weeks ago I had a chance to take Jessie to a game and we had a great time! I am not sure if you saw the game on TV but about halfway through the game a torrential rain shower came through and WOW we got wet! The only funny thing during the shower was that where we were sitting we could see a guy just below us that had the unfortunate seat placement right under the storm drain and oh boy did he get wet! I must say he has to be one of the toughest sport fans that I have ever seen he sat under that waterfall for about 30 minutes because he did not want to miss any part of the game, now that is dedication!
Ginger and I had a chance to visit the Carolina Panthers locker room and behind the scenes stuff; wow was that incredible! Thanks to Fed-Ex for the opportunity!
While Jessie and I were at the game she asked if I ever played football and so I had to dig through my pictures to find one of my youth football league photos. I was a handsome little devil! But football was not the sport that I loved, as soon as I was able to get my driver’s license off to the drag strip I went!
Quick word about our dog, Bella the Akita. She is only 3 years old now but has been diagnosed with meningitis, they have her on medication that they say will get her better but it will take up to 6 months. She is a great dog so we are sure hoping for her to get feeling better.
Please keep your fingers crossed for getting one of these sponsors that we are working on finalized so that we can get back out where we need to be, on the track for the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season!
I will keep working hard on the sponsor search as well as B.R.A.K.E.S. and here at my shop, Herbert Cams and Performance Parts. I hope to be able to give everyone some good news really soon!