More than 40 lucky race fans mingled with stars from the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series on Saturday, and helped support a great cause at the 9th annual NHRA Tour de Charity at the Infineon Raceway Karting Center.

The sold-out event, which coupled race fans with top NHRA drivers for a day of karting on the raceway’s challenging course, raised $12,600 for Speedway Children’s Charities, bringing the nine-year total for the event to nearly $100,000.

Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway, raises funds throughout the year for distribution to qualified youth organizations in Sonoma County.  The charity has distributed more than $3.7 million since 2001. 

NHRA drivers Ron Capps (NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Funny Car) and Jack Beckman (Valvoline/Aaron’s Dodge Funny Car) swapped paint with fans under rainy conditions on the challenging road course. 

“I flew home from Las Vegas to be here today,” said Castro Valley’s Stan Sheppard, who has participated in the event for five years. “I loved four-wheel drifting the karts in the rain, but I really come here to support the charity.”

Capps took King of the Track honors among the NHRA drivers, turning the best lap over the 16-turn, three-quarter mile circuit at 1 minute, 5.794 seconds. The win marked Capps’ sixth title (2003, 2005-2007, 2010-2011) over the past nine years.  Other winners have included Top Fuel drivers Cory McClenathan (2004) and David Baca (2009), and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Matt Guidera (2008).

“This is always an event I look forward to, and it’s always great to win,” said Capps. “I think I need a bigger wall for all the plaques.”

“You can’t lose today,” said Beckman. “It’s a fun day out at the track and it’s for charity. This is my first time out for this event and I had a great time."

 The Jim Russell Racing Drivers School provided the karts, race suits, classroom instruction and on-track pointers for all competitors. The NHRA drivers also signed autographs and donated memorabilia for a raffle.

Race fans also competed in a 15-minute race at the end of the day, with 16-year-old Walnut Creek native Zach Maclean taking top honors with a time of 1:06.290.

For more information about charity events at Infineon Raceway, visit www.infineonraceway.com/scc or call 800-870-RACE (7223).