Race Fans Raise $11,000 at Charity Karting Event in Sonoma
Nearly 40 race fans mingled with stars from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on Saturday and helped support a great cause at the 13th annual NHRA Tour de Charity at the Sonoma Raceway Karting Center.
The charity event, which pitted race fans against NHRA racers for a day of karting on the raceway's challenging course, raised $11,050 for Speedway Children's Charities, bringing the 13-year total for the event to more than $141,000.
"This is my first time out here and I'm hoping to at least beat my husband or else it's going to be a long ride home," said Jenny Hamilton of Livermore. "I grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club in Sonoma and I wanted to support Speedway Children's Charities because of their continued support of the Boys and Girls Club all these years."
Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, raises funds for distribution to qualified youth organizations in Sonoma County. The charity has distributed more than $4.8 million since 2001.
NHRA Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman (Infinite Hero Dodge Charger) and Ron Capps (NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger) as well as Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Scotty Pollacheck (Petrolhead Buell) traded paint and rubbed elbows with fans.
"Often, when you're doing some productive it's not fun, and when you're doing something fun, it's not productive," said Beckman. "That's not the case here. This is a time, where we as drivers get to take time out to interact with fans and race these amazing go karts. The best thing is it all goes to charity."
For the second consecutive year, Capps took King of the Track honors among the NHRA racers, turning the best lap over the 16-turn, three-quarter mile circuit at 1 minute, 6.565 seconds. Capps holds the record for most King of the Track honors, taking the title eight times (2003, 2005-2007, 2010-2011, 2014-2015). Other winners have included Top Fuel drivers Cory McClenathan (2004), David Baca (2009), Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Matt Guidera (2008), Beckman (2012) and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Adam Arana (2013).
Race fans also competed in a 12-lap race at the end of the day, with Elk Grove's Milas Mills taking top honors for the third year in a row with a time of 1 minute, 3.205 seconds.
The Simraceway Performance Driving Center provided the karts, race suits, classroom instruction and on-track pointers for all competitors. The NHRA racers also signed autographs and donated memorabilia for gifts bags for each participant.
For more information about charity events at Sonoma Raceway, visit www.racesonoma.com/scc or call 800-870-RACE (7223).