Madison: David Baca preview

St. Louis race will provide Baca a distraction from real life concerns ST. LOUIS (June 22) -- David Baca will be extremely focused on winning this weekend's 10th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals when he's in the driver's seat of his ...

St. Louis race will provide Baca a distraction from real life concerns

ST. LOUIS (June 22) -- David Baca will be extremely focused on winning this weekend's 10th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals when he's in the driver's seat of his 8,000-horsepower Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel dragster. It's the long hours in between his 4.5-second quarter-mile runs when his mind might wander.

Baca found out a member of the Mach 1 Air Services family has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Terri Valenti of Seattle, the wife of Mach 1 District Manager Rick Valenti, is in a fight for her life and the concern for her well-being has made its way into the heart of the Baca-Windham Motorsports camp.

"Racing is what we do and it's our passion," Baca said. "But situations like this change your outlook. Our thoughts and our prayers are with Terri. We'll be flying her name and the colors of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on our Mach 1 Air Services dragster this weekend to raise awareness for cancer research and to let Terri and Rick know we love them and we're thinking about them."

The philanthropic driver from Brentwood, Calif., who generously uses his high-profile race team to bring awareness and funding to charitable organizations like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Mark Hindy Charitable Foundation for the children of 9/11 victims, and Hunter's Hope, is asking fans to stop by his pit and don a pink ribbon to symbolize their support of breast cancer research.

"It's important for all of us to maintain a vigilant stance against cancer," said Baca, a three-time finalist on the NHRA tour, which includes a runner-up result in Pomona, Calif., earlier this season. "We should put as much effort into fighting this terrible disease, which touches us all, as we do into winning races. If we maintain our support of these charities, like we have since I've been driving, maybe one day we'll find a cure."

Mike Entzminger, the CEO of Mach 1 Air Services, was the driving force behind this weekend's tribute and heightened awareness campaign.

"We have 250 employees across the United States, in Mexico and Canada, and even in China," Entzminger said, "and our company's focus has always been on our people. Without them, Mach 1 doesn't exist, and believe me I know how valuable each person on our staff is to our company. When one of us is down, it strikes to the core of us all.

"I'm thrilled and touched by David's tribute to Terri this. I hope he gets a chance to get on ESPN and wish her a quick recovery. I know it will mean a lot to Terri and Rick and to all of us at Mach 1. The NHRA has become a big part of our efforts and it all revolves around David Baca. For him to take the time and do this for us is something special."

Baca is 48 points out of the POWERade top 10 as the tour reaches it's 12th of 23 races. A strong showing at Gateway International Raceway could lift him as high as seventh heading into a three-week summer break.

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca