By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – Each Saturday night during the summer, area fans are treated to great racing battles on the clay at Fremont Speedway. On Saturday, May 15, there will be a more important battle played out in the pits at “The Track That Action Built.” Five very special youngsters will be on the pit crews of race teams, and while they will help the racers battle the competition, these young people are engaged in the battle for life.
The Racers Racing for the Cure (RRC) has teamed up with race night sponsor Roots Poultry for a very special evening. This year, the organization, which is in its third year of raising funds to fight cancer, has taken on the cause of the 21 young people inflicted with some type of cancer who are included in the Ohio Department of Health’s Clyde, Ohio Cancer Cluster. RRC is working to raise funds to help the children and their families and also provide them with some fun this summer.
“We want to help them take a break from all the medical treatment and worry and simply be kids and have fun,” said RRC Founder Jim Burkett.
On Saturday at Fremont, Chase Berger will be on the pit crew for 410 sprint driver Lee Jacob’s Hammer Motorsports team while Tanner Hisey will be a member of 410 sprint driver David Harrison’s Crown Battery team. Tyler Smith will be among the crew for 410 sprint driver Mike Linder’s crew with Austin Caster on the crew for 410 driver Byron Reed’s Reebar Diecasting team. Bubba Andrews, a Clyde High School graduate, will be on the crew for 305 sprint driver and Clyde school teacher Matt Merrill’s Cash Cow team.
“We know the racing community will put their collective arms around these courageous children and show them love and support. The Racers Racing for the Cure has raised – thanks to the generosity of the area fans and raced teams – over $28,000 in just two years to help cancer causes. There is not one race fan who hasn’t been impacted by this disease, whether it’s a family member of friend, we all know someone who has fought and in many instances beat back cancer. With all of our continued support great strides are made in the treatment and cure of cancer and we must continue that fight,” said Brian Liskai, Public Relations Director for Fremont Speedway.
RRC was founded in 2008 in honor and memory of Alex Burkett who fought a long, hard battle against pancreatic cancer. It was Alex’s wish to begin this foundation to help find a cure for cancer and to help other families who suffered from this disease. Alex was a long-time sponsor of racing throughout the Midwest, backing the All Star Circuit of Champions, Fremont Speedway and many local racers. RRC is run by Alex’s family members and friends.
RRC has been selling racing t-shirts throughout the summer to raise funds for their cause, and those will be available Saturday at Fremont Speedway. The group will also sell 50/50 raffle tickets and tickets for a chance to win a refurbished 1991 Chevrolet Camaro. Tickets for the Camaro are $10 each and the drawing will be held in July at Fremont Speedway.
“I can’t say enough about the local businesses like Fort Ball Pizza Palace, R&R Auto, C&T Exhaust, Nu-Wave Auto, Painters Supply, Expert Tire and Nu-Tire. When I went to Rich Farmer (Fremont Speedway Promoter) he didn’t hesitate at all and said ‘What can we do to help.’ The fans and race teams have been amazing over the past three years and with their help I know we are making a difference in the lives of families,” said Jim Burkett, Alex’s son.
On Sunday, May 16, the Third Annual Alex Burkett Memorial Blood Drive will be held at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds, home of Fremont Speedway. Local residents and race fans are asked to donate blood from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Elvis impersonator Walt Sanders and his band will perform from noon to 2 p.m. as he accepts donations for songs from the audience for RRC and admission to the show is a $5 donation which includes barbeque beef and chicken sandwiches, potato and beverage. There will be a 50/50 drawing and merchandise raffles.
“We’ve lead Sandusky County in blood collections for a single event each of the past two years. Our goal is at least 71 units of blood,” said Jim Burkett.
The RRC is planning other events for the children in the Clyde Cancer Cluster throughout the summer including the children spending a day with their local racing heroes at St. Vincent’s Children’s Hospital in Toledo and tentatively at Akron Children’s Hospital. Benefits are also being planned at Fort Ball Pizza Palace and Miller’s SuperValue in Clyde.
So come out and see three-time All Star champion Dale Blaney, Byron Reed, Mike Linder, Craig Mintz, Brock Mayes, Chris Andrews, Kevin Lee, Lee Jacobs and more do battle on “The Track That Action Built” and support a great cause on Saturday. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing underway at 7 p.m.
For more information on RRC contact Jim Burkett at Jimburkett@racersforthecure.com or call him at 419-463-0402. For more information on Fremont Speedway go to www.fremontohspeedway.com