Baca wants the spotlight for a very good reason
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 7) -- Driving a Top Fuel dragster that covers the quarter-mile from a standing start in 4.5 seconds at speeds in excess of 330 mph requires plenty of self confidence. It's no wonder those brave enough to slip into the cockpit are the center of the media's attention each week.
Fourth-year Top Fuel professional David Baca of the Mach 1 Air Services race team hopes to deflect the attention he'll garner as one of the favorites to win this weekend's 42nd annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals and place it where it can do the most good -- in support of the sixth charitable entity he's championed this season.
Already this year Baca has helped raise awareness and donations for 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.
Now he hopes to close the season with a cause that's very close to his heart -- the Morgellons Research Foundation, which is trying to eradicate one of the most perplexing illnesses know to man. Only recently discovered, Morgellons disease is the presence of skin lesions with unusual fiber-like strands that produce disturbing crawling sensations, life-altering fatigue, memory loss and mental confusion, as well as joint and muscle pain for those it affects.
This mysterious disease came to Baca's attention when he learned that his car chief Kevin Poynter's sister-in-law Deanna was stricken with the Morgellons. He immediately vowed to help the Morgellons Research Foundation in any way possible.
"Just as we have with all the other charities we helped this year, we'll be drawing as much attention as possible for Morgellons research," Baca said. "This disease is so scary it's hard to explain. The doctors have no cure for it at this point and because it's such a new deal, a lot of people don't know about it. Hopefully we can change that a little bit this weekend."
Baca raced to the finals of the season opener at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona earlier this year. If he can do that again this time through, he'll not only finish the year on a high note but he'll gain maximum exposure for Morgellons disease.
"The awesome part of my job is the platform we're afforded in the national spotlight," said Baca, who hails from Brentwood, Calif. "Mike Entzminger, the CEO and founder of Mach 1 Air Services, has encouraged us to get involved in the community and allowed us to share space on the racecar with all these great charities this year. It's been so rewarding for all of us.
"We're motivated to win this race. We want to go in there and upset some teams and finish the year with a victory. Either way, if we get some national and local attention for Morgellons I'll be happy with our efforts."
The Morgellons Research Foundation was founded in 2002 by the mother of a young boy who developed a strange illness, which physicians were unable to diagnose. The foundation was granted nonprofit 501(c)3 status by the IRS in 2004, and is works with an all-volunteer board of directors and medical advisors to understand this illness. Tax deductible donations, which will support patient support, public outreach, and scientific research into the cause of, and cure for, Morgellons disease can be made online at www.Morgellons.org.
ESPN2 will carry this race in two segments. The qualifying show will air from 7-9 p.m. PT Saturday, while the eliminations will air from 4-7 p.m. Sunday.