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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (August 7, 2000) - Exciting racing action and charitable giving are part of the PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki at Elkhart Lake Wis., August 18-20. The Neon race is part of the Motorola 220 CART weekend at...

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (August 7, 2000) - Exciting racing action and charitable giving are part of the PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki at Elkhart Lake Wis., August 18-20. The Neon race is part of the Motorola 220 CART weekend at Road America and raises money for the children of the Rainbow Connection. The final round of the 2000 Neon Charity Challenge will close what is expected to be the most successful season of racing and charity efforts since the series inception of the charity format in 1997. The recent PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki event at Belle Isle, Mich., raised $380,000 for the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL). The goal for the season finale at Road America is more than $150,000 for the Pontiac, Michigan-based Rainbow Connection, the second consecutive year for the charity. So far the series has provided more than $1.4 million dollars to children's charities since 1997. The Rainbow Connection was founded in 1985 to grant special wishes to children ages 3-18 with serious illnesses. Since its inception, the charity has granted over 1,000 wishes, fulfilling 140 in 1998, and 150 in 1999. The monies donated through the PPG Neon Charity Challenge last year -- $168,000 -- helped grant 52 wishes. The most requested wish is a trip to Disney World. The average cost of a wish is $3,000. "The Rainbow Connection is one of the most rewarding charities I have ever been involved with," said L. Brook Patterson, Founder. "I started Rainbow Connection after a friend and his children were killed, and I wanted to find a way to help children who were experiencing similar grief while facing a life-threatening illness. One of the unique things about Rainbow Connection is that we send the siblings along with the child to give them an opportunity to enjoy time with their brothers and sisters. The original budget for Rainbow Connection was $3,000. This year, with the help of DaimlerChrysler and the Neon Charity Challenge, our budget will be over $1 million." "We are excited to return to Road America and to improve the lives of the children at the Rainbow Connection through another weekend of racing," said Frank Fountain, President, DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund and one of this year's Detroit racers. "Our goal with this series is to contribute to the lives of these children and continue the development of the organization through funds raised by the drivers." The participants in the PPG Neon Charity Challenge event this weekend include Fortune 500 executives and local media personalities, as well as SCCA club racers, who make a donation to charity for the privilege of driving in the Charity Challenge race. The charity racers will drive equally prepared Neons, while the SCCA Club participants will compete in their own Dodge Neon ACRs.

Many of the club racers are returning after the inaugural race of the season in May at Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn., while several charity drivers will make Road America the second race of 2000, after debuting on the streets of Detroit in June. The Neon Challenge began in 1994, after the immensely successful launch of the Dodge Neon, as a "Celebrity Challenge." It consisted of three events in Detroit, Des Moines and Dallas, with television personalities, members of the media, civic leaders, Fortune 500 executives and music stars competing. The series was changed to the Charity Challenge format in 1997, to help raise funds for disadvantaged children in America. The PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki will have two separate races during the Motorola 220 at Road America race weekend. The first race is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19, 5:30 - 6:00 p.m., with the second race Sunday, Aug. 20, 4:35 - 5:05 p.m. Sponsors for this year's Neon Charity Challenge Series include PPG, Yazaki North America, Chrysler Financial, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Infinity, Mopar Performance Parts, and RECARO.

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