RACE: Phoenix races for kids at Moroso

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Phoenix Autosport racing team, based here, is bringing in drivers from all over the U. S. to compete on behalf of the Racing for Kids ® charity in the SCCA "Longest Night" 24-hour endurance race Dec. 31 at Moroso Motorsports...

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Phoenix Autosport racing team, based here, is bringing in drivers from all over the U. S. to compete on behalf of the Racing for Kids ® charity in the SCCA "Longest Night" 24-hour endurance race Dec. 31 at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach.

The team's two race cars and its cadre of drivers will appear at the Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant, 8986 International Drive, on Dec. 26 and 27 to raise money in the form of lap pledges for the race to go to the organization that uses the popularity of motorsports to raise awareness and funds for the health care needs of children around the world. Several hundred dollars have already been pledged by commercial sponsors, said team owner Douglas Pirrotta.

Two of the drivers, Terri Popielarz of Indianapolis (formerly known as Terri Hundertmark) and Belinda Endress of Newbury Park, Calif., will visit the patients at the Richard and Pat Johnson Shelter and Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, West Palm Beach, on Dec. 28 on behalf of Racing for Kids.

(Led by Indy Racing League star Robbie Buhl, drivers such as Popielarz and Endress visit children's hospitals. Since 1990 RFK drivers have visited more than 1,100 youngsters in 150 hospitals and raised more than $1.6 million for children's hospitals.)

Popielarz and Endress, who compete against each other in the Women's Global GT road racing series, along with Mary Legitino of Chicago, a Formula Star Mazda competitor, will co-drive one of the Phoenix Mazda RX-7s in the race with Neil Crilly of Miami, a veteran of European long distance racing.

The identical team car will be driven by Paul Jenkins of Chicago, an air combat hero from the Gulf War who competes in the Grand Am series and most recently won the 2,800-mile Mexican Road Race revival, Roger Bogusz of Chicago, three-time national SCCA champ with experience in everything from open wheel racing to stock cars, and MTV performer J. Michael Johnson of Atlanta, a Grand Am SR-2 class champion and Formula Ford competitor. All the drivers will be on hand at the Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant on the two days following Christmas to sign autographs and accept pledges to Racing For Kids.

Popielarz, recently married to veteran Indy car wrench Dave Popielarz, Mo Nunn's chief mechanic in the CART FedEx Championship series, has been competing since 1997 and recently scored her first top-5 finish in the Women's Global GT series. Her WGGTS rival, Endress finished third in points in that series in 2000, mainly on four 2nd place finishes and a pole position recorded in six races. In a separate stock car series, she scored her first overall victory this season in Kent, Wash. Endress started her racing career as a WGGTS regular in 1999 and was named "most improved driver" that year.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Belinda Endress , Paul Jenkins , Mo Nunn , Michael Johnson