Las Vegas II: David Baca preview

Supporting charitable causes has become the norm for Baca LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23) -- It's not written into his contract with sponsor Mach 1 Air Services, but Top Fuel driver David Baca knows his 8,000-horsepower dragster is a powerful marketing tool.

Supporting charitable causes has become the norm for Baca

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23) -- It's not written into his contract with sponsor Mach 1 Air Services, but Top Fuel driver David Baca knows his 8,000-horsepower dragster is a powerful marketing tool. Sure he wants attention for Mach 1, that's what pays the bills, but he and Mach 1 CEO Mike Entzminger have gone way out of their way in 2006 to use their racecar to make an impression of a different kind.

At numerous NHRA national events throughout the year, Baca and Entzminger have collaborated to find charities that may need a lift. They've found that by displaying a charity's name or website on their racecar in front of ESPN2's nationwide audience, they can significantly help a cause along.

Already this year they've aided the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Mark Hindy Charitable Foundation benefiting the children of 9/11, Alex's Lemonade Stand for pediatric cancer research, DonateLife.net's organ donor awareness program, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. They've had special VIP visitors at various races, volunteers spreading the word outside their pit, and event organizers signing people up for fundraising raffles.

"It's the right thing to do, plain and simple," said Baca. "It's easy to treat this like a business and put another sponsor sticker on the car, collect the check, and go racing. But we also need to remember that we're extremely fortunate to be here doing what we love to do. We couldn't do it without the support of the community at large, and let's face it; there are many areas where people need help.

"I'll tell you what, as much work as it is organizing some of these deals, the return on investment is phenomenal. When we were in the middle of the Western Swing earlier this year and the guy's tails were dragging, one visit from a camp full of Jerry's Kids turned the tide like nothing you've ever seen. We thought we were going to lift these kid's spirits. They ended up lifting ours."

Once again this weekend during the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Baca will be waving the banner for cancer awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world. Baca and the 200 Mach 1 guests he'll be hosting are hoping to remind everyone the search for a cure doesn't end on Nov. 1.

"We've had close members of the Mach 1 family fighting this terrible disease this year so we're all conscious of it," Baca said. "We'll have those big, bright pink ribbons on racecar all weekend. I just want to remind people that we all need to be vigilant in our efforts to find a cure. Together we can make a difference. I've seen it happen."

Coming off a huge weekend in Virginia where he all but extinguished the title hopes of three-time champion Tony Schumacher when he upset in him Round 1 at Virginia Motorsports Park, Baca is hoping for three big chances to get those pink ribbons some exposure. First, he'd like to hit the jackpot and make the field of the Budweiser Shootout as the event's wildcard entry. Second, he wants to win the $100,000 special event on Saturday. Finally, he is looking for a trip to the winner's circle of Sunday's ACDelco race.

"If we can beat Schumacher we can beat anyone," Baca said. "Top Fuel is so darn close these days. It really has come down to thousandths of a second almost every round. Vegas is close to my home in Northern California and the fact we're near the end of the year makes it special. Plus, if we can get this car on TV some more and show off those ribbons, everyone will be happy."

Prior to the start of the race, Baca will participate in the annual Fan Fest autograph session supporting the Budweiser Shootout Party, which will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

-credit: dbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , David Baca