Sears Point Olive Garden Team Races To Feed Needy Families

Sonoma, Calif. (July 20, 2000) – At Sears Point Raceway in Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma, the race will be on to help ease hunger in the Bay Area. As part of Sunday's American Le Mans Series race, the Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger return to...

Sonoma, Calif. (July 20, 2000) – At Sears Point Raceway in Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma, the race will be on to help ease hunger in the Bay Area. As part of Sunday's American Le Mans Series race, the Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger return to northern California in the second round of a race against hunger across America. Throughout the 1999 American Le Mans Series (ALMS), one needy family enjoyed a hearty meal at a nearby Olive Garden restaurant for every race lap completed by the Olive Garden racing team. In six events last year, the Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger program provided meals for some 1600 needy families in ALMS cities such as Atlanta, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.

In addition to the dinners, Olive Garden also provided 200,000 pounds of food and donated refrigerated trucks filled with food to the community food banks in those cities. So far this year, the food bank in Tampa, Fla. and Charlotte, N.C. have joined the list, receiving food- filled refrigerated trucks which will particularly aid their efforts at reaching outlying communities with perishable foods and produce.

Olive Garden team drivers Didier de Radigues and "Mimmo" Schiattarella help make the program happen by "carrying" the needy along with them when they race. Each driver knows that the faster he goes and the longer the team stays on course, the more meals they will help provide for the needy.

Last season, one of the drivers expressed it this way. "At first, I didn't think about it too much," said de Radigues "but then, after visiting the food banks and seeing the work they do, I started to think about it during the race." The Belgian reported that while racing he would say to himself, "That's one more lap. That's one more family fed."

In each of the ALMS communities, the community food bank administers the program, working with its regional partners to identify the needy families and bring them to the Olive Garden restaurants for hearty Italian meals.

The Olive Garden Local Relationship With Community Food Banks

"We look forward to continuing the Drive Against Hunger program this year." said Olive Garden's President, Brad Blum. Our family of local Italian restaurants has a long history of involvement in the communities where we live and serve our guests and we welcome the many families who will dine with us at Olive Garden restaurants as a result of our Drive Against Hunger."

Olive Garden is a sponsor of Team Rafanelli of San Gimignano, Italy. Olive Garden Team Rafanelli is competing in all eight North American events as well as the Adelaide, Australia finale of this year's American Le Mans Series Championship.

Team Rafanelli's distinguished resume includes:

* Pole positions at the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 and at the recent Silverstone European Le Mans Series race, May 13

* The fastest lap record at Silverstone as well as at last year's Sebring race, victory in the 1999 championship round at Road Atlanta

* A total of six victories in international 24-hour endurance races

Didier de Radigues of Brussels, Belgium and "Mimmo" Schiatarella of Milan, will drive the Olive Garden Rafanelli V-10 at Sears Point Raceway in the Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 23.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Didier de Radigues , Brad Blum