Posts Tagged ‘Kart Racing’
Saturday Nov. 10th was a typical sunny, 70 degree day in East TN, a great setting for the final TCS (Tennessee Championship Series) points race at Dumplin Valley Raceway in Kodak, TN. For the Addiction Motorsports team the day would have its ups and downs… Three members of the team would be in contention for the championship in their respective classes: #89 Brandon Miller-Sr. Champ, #116 Jake Whitehead-Animal 350 and #78 Thomas Eichman-Box Stock Clone 375. With teammate Jerry Cook finishing 2nd in TDKA (Tennessee Dirt Karting Association) points championship the previous week, it was definitely “go time” for the team.
The day would not start exactly as the team had planned with Eichman having to surrender any championship hopes due to illness and Miller and Whitehead looking for bite (grip on the track) during practice and qualifying. The daylight hours left Miller, Whitehead, and crew chief Brad Campbell scratching their heads and making changes. Miller eventually qualified 4th in both Sr. Champ points and Sr. Champ money race and Whitehead 5th in Animal 350, the team definitely had their work cut out for them to get to the front.
As the sun went down and the racing action heated up, so did the Addiction Motorsports team. There would be a lot of good racing and close battles in many of the classes prior to Miller and Whitehead taking the track so when it was time for Miller to his shot at the Sr. Champ points, starting 4th, he definitely had a battle on his hands once the green flag waved.
There were a lot of side by battles and lead changes, Miller finished 3rd in a close battle right at the finish line and with that, he secured the points championship. With One title decided for the team it would soon be Whitehead’s turn to take the track, starting from the 5th position.
Whitehead quickly moved his way through traffic into the second position and attempted to run down the leader before the final laps wound down, however, Whitehead finished 2nd which left him just shy of the points championship in Animal 350. It was a great effort by Whitehead and following his race a number of other titles would be decided.
The final race of the evening was the Sr. Champ money race and once again Miller would roll off in the 4th position. After the green flag waved, Miller and the 3rd position kart hooked up and drafted to the front in the early going. Miller eventually made the pass on his drafting partner and moved into the 2nd position. A few laps later he took the lead and held it until the checkered flag flew.
Miller put his Prayer For Lucas kart in the winner’s circle one more time before the end of the season and left Miller wishing Lucas could have been there by his side to enjoy the win. Miller’s take on the weekend was that you win some and you lose some, but we are all so very blessed to be doing what we love and in his words, “We live to race, while others…like Lucas, race to live.”
In the words of crew chief Brad Campbell, “After all the dust settled”, it proved to be a pretty good weekend and points season for the Addiction Motorsports team, but it doesn’t end there…the team now moves to indoor karting for the winter months.
All of the TCS Champions will be honored on a later date at the yearly banquet. For a complete list of Champions please visit Dumplin Valley Raceway’s website at: www.thevalleyraceway.com. A huge thank you to Brenda Miller for the race report and photos and congratulations to the Addiction Motorsports team for a great conclusion to the season.
For a small East TN kart team it can often be very hard to acquire sponsorship even when they are trying to raise awareness and supporting a good cause. And sadly…karting is not one the more recognized motorsports, even though it is one the best forms of “grassroots” racing. But that isn’t stopping Addiction Motorsports and driver Brandon Miller who is still trying to raise awareness for Sanfilippo Syndrome and help their special friend Lucas Hembree.
Brandon Miller is once again very focused on taking Lucas and his Prayers For Lucas #89 kart to victory lane raising awareness and providing Lucas another opportunity to celebrate with the team.
Miller will be attending the 2012 “Insane One” in Clay City, Kentucky Sept. 14th, 15th, & 16th. The “Insane One” pays $20,000 to win and pays back through 32nd place. Miller will be driving a kart totally dedicated to Lucas (Prayers For Lucas) and Sanfilippo Syndrome, with a unique livery for this race and for Lucas.
The kart will also carry the names of the sponsors who have partnered with him and Addiction Motorsports. Miller will be donating a portion of his total winnings from the weekend directly to Lucas and his family even if it means that he has to do this on his own.
Miller said “so very often we forget how blessed we really are and that there those who are less fortunate and there is always something we can do no matter how small it may be”. Miller stated that he will be there for Lucas with or without sponsorship, however, it will be a lot harder without any help. “Lucas is a very special little boy with a very short life expectancy, who is showing more aggressive signs of deterioration from this disorder than was previously expected, so it is very important for him to experience everything he can in the short amount of time he has and it is mine and the team’s intent to help him get to experience life to its fullest.”
To karting this event is like the Daytona 500 is to NASCAR. Miller attended this event last year where there were over 600 participants from 41 states. He qualified 6th out of 100+ karts trying to make the field for the “Insane One”. He was also featured in the Kentucky Herald-Leader in several photos.
Why do this you might ask? Miller’s answer… simply…”Why Not?” “I love to race and when there’s a chance that we might touch the lives of others or give others a chance at life, or even just raise awareness about Lucas and this rare fatal genetic disorder to that one person or group who might finally be able to find a treatment or cure, that’s why.”
For those who would like to find out more about Lucas and Sanfilippo Syndrome, you can go to www.prayersforlucas.org, or you can follow him on facebook or twitter @PrayersForLucas. If you would like more information on Brandon, karting, or this teams cause, you can follow them on twitter @AddictionMotors.
Gearheads Magazine is right behind Addiction Motorsports and we hope the team and Lucas have a great weekend! We will post the results of the event and report on Addiction Motorsport’s success at the “Insane One”, stay tuned.
Brenda Miller who has been my Liaison with the team, sent me a report on the event and it was a tremendous success. Drivers, crews, friends, families, and spectators braved the heat, with temps over 109 degrees at times, so they could get this event completed and help Lucas.
Rookie driver Jerry Cook got his very first win and was the first Addiction Motorsports team driver to take Lucas to victory circle so he could bask in the celebration. Lucas would visit victory circle three more times that evening as Cook’s team-mate, Brandon Miller won all 3 of his classes.
During the drivers meeting Lucas and his family were presented a checkered flag autographed by every driver participating in the benefit and a 36′ American flag was flown on the boom of the rotator wrecker. The flag was donated by the widow of Navy veteran Lee Dickie. The flag had flown on the USS Kitty Hawk. Adding to the patriotic atmosphere, local performer Karlee Beats sung the National Anthem while team drivers Brandon Miller and Jake Whitehead circled the track with the American flag.
65 drivers and 90 entries comprised the field and all the race entry fees were donated to lucas. Brenda reports that the racing was close and very competitive. Winners of the 3 big features:Flathead 365, Clone 365, and Champ 425, were each presented with a Prayers for Lucas checkered flag, $100, a certificate to have their picture and name on Trevor Bayne’s #60 Nationwide car in this August’s Bristol race, a YourRaceCar.com pit cap and t-shirt autographed by Trevor Bayne.
The second place drivers received the certificate to have their names on Trevor Bayne’s stock car, while the third place drivers received a YourRaceCar.com t-shirt. Many of the drivers donated their total winnings back to Lucas and at the end of the night some of the track officials donated their entire earnings from the day.
“Everyone was so excited to meet Lucas and get to see that special smile we all know. The team was very excited to see the support of their fellow racers, community, and everyone involved”, said Brenda.
Brandon Miller echoed the same sentiments “the team could not have asked for a more rewarding night with the team going 4 for 4 and the tremendous support of our racing family. It is so heart warming to see a community pull together for such a good cause”.
This inaugural event was a huge success and as of last Monday there were still donations coming in and people asking how they could help. Through donations, t-shirt sales, silent auction, and a raffle, over $3,000 was raised for Lucas’s family to put toward purchasing the new wheelchair he desperately needs.
Gearheads Magazine wanted to help out where we could and we all hoped that the event would be a success. The crew at Addiction Motorsports did indeed have a very successful race and with assistance from track owner, Steve Horner and Sherrie Bowers of Your Race Car, Lucas received help he needed. Congratulations to them and as well, all of the drivers, support workers, crew members and families who took part in Lucas’ benefit race.
I think all of those who raced at Dumplin Valley Raceway and the people in Kodak, TN should be real proud of what they have done. At a time when the business of motor racing has been losing touch with its roots, it is very re-assuring to see that there are racers who work together to aid one of their own. That a racing community can come together like a family and provide help and comfort that is needed and appreciated.
You meet some really great people in this business and sometimes you get a note from someone or an email or in this case, a follower on Twitter. Brenda was following me on my personal account and she told me about this team of drivers who race karts off road. I was intrigued and asked her to send me some info so I could learn more and share it with Gearhead Nation.
To make a long story short, we lost touch for a couple of weeks but I saw her race team, Addiction Motorsports, tweeting about a benefit race. I received an email from Brenda today, with photos and information on the team and the race this weekend. The story stirred in me, an emotional response, and I wanted to ensure I got it out to our readers tonight.
Addiction Motorsports team members are Brandon Miller, Jake Whitehead, Jerry Cook, Thomas Eichman and Brad Campbell. The team races dirt flat and champ karts and is based out of Maryville, TN. They race both locally and nationally in clone, flathead, and champ classes. Their home track, Dumplin Valley Raceway, is located in Kodak, TN. Speeds in these karts range from 50 mph on a short track to 100 mph on a drafting track and by the look of the photos they run on clay and a groomed track surface.
I mentioned a benefit race and it is being held for a young lad who is a fan of the team and enjoys spending time around them and the track. Lucas is a local 5 yr old boy with Sanflippo Syndrome (MPS III) which is a rare, fatal genetic disorder. There is no treatment and no cure. All treatments are experimental and extremely expensive. You can learn more about Lucas and the battle he fights, on his blog; PrayersforLucas.org
The team carries Lucas’s logo on the nose of each kart everywhere they race and Brandon donates a percentage of his winnings from certain events to Lucas, but the team still wanted to do more for this special little boy, because Lucas just lights up and smiles when he is around these karts. They have worked with Steve Horner, the track owner in Kodak and Sherrie Bowers from YourRaceCar.com to bring this event to the community hoping to raise awareness and help defer some of the financial burden the family bears. They are hoping to raise enoough money so that Lucas can get the new wheelchair he desperately needs. The race is Saturday June 30th in Kodak, TN.
Anyone wanting to help that is unable to attend the benefit race, can make donations through Lucas’s page http://www.prayerforlucas.org/ We at Gearheads Magazine wish a ton of success for Addiction Motorsports and hope that Lucas has an enjoyable weekend with all the lads on the team. Brenda will be sending me a report after the weekend, where we will talk about the race and delve deeper into this interesting form of grassroots motorsports.