DAYTONA BEACH – Park Place Motorsports and the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) Racing4Research (R4R) program have completed all their preparation work and are set for this Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season opener, the Rolex 24 At Daytona. North America’s premier 24-hour race begins Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
“The car felt great, where we don’t need to make any changes for the race. We’re ready to go,” Pumpelly said. “I didn’t get a lot of time in the car before getting some in night practice, but we’re good now.”
The solid week of practice and qualifying for the Children’s Tumor Foundation Racing4Research group represents only part of the preparation for the team at Daytona. Last year’s Rolex 24 campaign raised more than $600,000 for the fight against Neurofibromatosis (NF), and the goal is to exceed that amount this weekend in the first CTF/R4R partnership with Park Place Motorsports.
The CTF is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by NF, a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. The disorder can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer and excruciating and disabling pain. Found in one of every 3,000 children born, NF is a more common disorder than many more widely known illnesses, including cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Donations to CTF Racing4Research can be made directly at www.Racing4Research.org.
“I am so anxious to meet all of our CTF supporters and ‘NF Heroes,’” Lindsey said. “I cannot imagine the daily struggle those brave kids have to endure, but I do know that their strength is inspiring. The commitment our team has put into fielding this car is nothing short of monumental. That level of commitment and drive is what our NF Heroes display every day. I want to show them that they are the inspiration and not the other way around. My prayer is that we can succeed on the track for the benefit of our kids. I want them to know that the best prizes are the ones that are hard fought, with your team at your side.”
The CTF/R4R program raises funds and awareness through a busy and diverse racing program that is annually anchored by a Rolex 24 At Daytona effort. A highlight of each race event is the on-site presence and support of a large group of courageous youngsters and their families who have been nicknamed “NF Heroes” for their tireless efforts in fighting the disorder.
This also marks Lindsey’s first Rolex 24 start, and he explained the magnitude of this experience.
“Daytona is a big deal. I didn't understand until I took those first laps at our tire test last October just how spectacular this place is,” Lindsey said. “All that history and the sheer mass of the place just hit me square in the chest as I turned into the tri-oval the first lap. It just takes your breath away. It happened again at the Roar as I walked with my helmet in hand to our pit for night practice. I saw the lights and the cars and felt the noise beating on my body, but it just didn't seem real. It was like I was watching from my couch and stuck in a daydream... then I strapped into the car.”
This weekend is also Pumpelly’s first time racing with the CTF/R4R partnership at Daytona. Although there’s already the built-in pressure of competing for a class win, Pumpelly feels the extra responsibility of doing well in the race for the “NF Heroes.”
“There’s two things it means,” Pumpelly said. “One, I’m really proud to be a part of this effort. It’s a great opportunity and you can’t wait to put on a good show for them. Secondly, there’s a bit of extra pressure because we know there’s a lot of people looking at us, and rooting for us. You don’t want to let anyone down, particularly the brave ‘NF Heroes.’”
Besides the No. 73, the Children’s Tumor Foundation logo is also prominently displayed on Park Place Motorsports’ second car. The No. 72 Park Place Motorsports/Vess Energy Services Porsche GT3 is driven by Mike Vess, JF Dumoulin, Grant Phipps, Chuck Cole and Mike Skeen.
Park Place Motorsports