Road america Challenge preview

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (August 15, 2000) - The final round of the 2000 PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki race merges people from various professions, including college students to CEOs, on the famed four-mile Road America circuit in...

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (August 15, 2000) - The final round of the 2000 PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki race merges people from various professions, including college students to CEOs, on the famed four-mile Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis., to raise $150,000 for the Rainbow Connection. The driver line-up at Road America features men and women; Generation Xers to Baby Boomers; and professions including an F-16 aircraft maintenance specialist, a doctor, a chemical engineer, an insurance agent, and a high school physics teacher. They all recognize the extraordinary opportunity to enrich the lives of children in need through the Rainbow Connection, a charity organization devoted to providing wishes for children facing life-threatening illnesses. The drivers have varied racing backgrounds, from several years of experience to no racing experience at all, adding to the excitement surrounding this one-marque racing series of Dodge Neon ACRs. Douglas Peterson, president 3-Dimensional Services, located Rochester Hills, Mich., is returning for his second year of competition in the PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki. Peterson finished the 1999 Detroit race weekend with an eighth- and a second-place finish, and bettered that in 2000 with a second-place finish on Saturday, followed up by a victory on Sunday. "I am very enthusiastic about this weekend," said Peterson. "In my eye, there is nothing better than a race weekend designed to help children. I am very excited to return to this series. Taking the win in Detroit on Sunday was tremendous, and I want to repeat that this weekend. The series is great and I love coming back year after year to race with these guys in the Dodge Neon ACR. I love this track, and the children are wonderful. Anything I could ever do to help someone in serious need, my wife Christine and I would do at the drop of a hat, and that makes this event even more special." Neon racer Toby Grahovec, a 21-year-old university student from Chicago, Ill., currently leads the PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki Showroom Stock B (SSB) point standings with a first- and second-place finish at the season opener at Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. In 1999, he claimed two regional SSB wins in his first-ever SCCA race, and took third and fourth at Road America in the PPG Charity Challenge. "This is a great event because there is such good competition. There are such good people involved and, of course, it's great for the charity and the kids," said Grahovec. "I really enjoy the Neon series because it puts the focus on the driver's ability and getting a good setup because all the cars are basically equal. I've raced at Road America six times over the past two years, so I hope that will give me an advantage and help me get the Bettenhausen Dodge Neon into victory lane." "It really hits home when you get to see the smiles on these kids faces, and last year it really touched a lot of the drivers to know that they played some part in fulfilling a child's wish," said Dick Bentle, a chemical engineer and Neon racer from Maumee, Ohio. "I'm ecstatic to race in front of 100,000 people and race on a track I grew up near. Dodge really does a great job of taking care of the grassroots racer involved in this series, and that makes the PPG Neon Charity Challenge series more realistic for a regular guy." Bentle began his racing career in 1997, and captured three SSB victories in regional SCCA competition. Last season he finished 12th in Neon Charity Challenge points and competed in both Lime Rock Park events at the start of the 2000 season. Female racer Linda Lemelin, a pharmacist from Carver, Mass., is looking forward to helping the families associated with the Rainbow Connection while getting back on the track for some racing action. "Last year they showed the drivers a video of the children of the Rainbow Connection," said Lemelin, a Neon Showroom Stock C competitor. "It really hits home to think about what they are accomplishing for these families through this race weekend. These kids are benefiting and it's great to be involved. I haven't been on the track for eight weeks, so I'm really looking forward to getting some racing in." Andy Moore, vice president of marketing for Henderson Glass, Inc., located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is returning for his second year of competition and is thrilled about the opportunities this event creates for the children. Moore is personally involved with the Rainbow Connection through a golf tournament fundraiser he promotes annually for the charity. "Last year, as a first-time driver, I was a little overwhelmed and, to be honest, very nervous," said Moore. "This year I am really excited and thrilled to be back. The Road America race course is beautiful and I look forward to trying it again." This year, Moore's Neon, which and is being sponsored through the generosity of PPG Industries, will bear a "Rainbow Connection" decal. "It's great fun, but it's about the kids," added Moore. "I'm proud to be able to say that I am part of such a tremendously worthwhile endeavor. My sincere thanks to everyone involved in making it happen. The kids thank you too." Two Rainbow Connection wish children and their families will be guests on Friday in the Neon Paddock at the Road America circuit. Nearly 80 Neon charity and professional club racers will take to the track for qualifying 5:30-6:00 p.m. on Friday. Race One is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19, 5:30-6:00 p.m. with Race Two on Sunday, Aug. 20, 4:35-5:05 p.m.

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Series Charity
Drivers Toby Grahovec , Doug Peterson