RACING AGAINST CANCER
ACHIEVEMENTS AT ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
The Racing Against Cancer Team celebrated the 2007
season in grand-style on Saturday afternoon. The Foxwoods Resort Casino
provided the setting for the 11th Annual Awards luncheon that honored
the accomplishments of the charitable organization's strongest
supporters. Unlike traditional banquets, the luncheon recognized the
competitors for their contributions off the racetrack. In total, nearly
20 individual competitors and racing organizations were feted for a
fundraising season that saw $52,000 raised for the fight against cancer.
The Racing Against Cancer Program has come a long way since
its humble beginnings in 1997, when a grieving husband vowed to deliver
on his wife's last wish. The first year, the fundraising tally reached
$10,000. Now, some 11 years later, over $585,000 has been raised for the
American Cancer Society and other cancer related programs. Thanks to the
vision of founder Jon Blanchette, the tireless efforts of President and
Director of Operations Scott Gregory, the long-standing commitment of
the Foxwoods Resort Casino, the determination of team members and the
countless race fans that have supported the program, something good has
come from Jodi Blanchette's valiant fight.
"Thanks to you people, Jodi's wish came true", said a
gracious and fulfilled Blanchette as he addressed the 80 plus team
members in attendance during his opening remarks.
Both Blanchette and Gregory acknowledged the importance of
Foxwoods' involvement in the success of the Racing Against Cancer
Program. From the conviction of the Foxwoods Executive Team to the host
of volunteers like Don Bailey, Laureen Smith, Terrance Welsh, Nadia
Espanova, Gene Santiago, and Thomas Larandeau, who were in attendance on
Saturday; to the continued financial commitment; and allotment of other
This always emotional event honors the accomplishments of
racers for their variety of fundraising efforts on behalf of the Racing
Against Cancer program, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to
raising funds for cancer research, patient services, youth tobacco
educational programs, and awareness.
The ceremony began with recognition of facilities like the
Thompson International Speedway, Poughkeepsie Speedway, and Londonderry
Raceway, who continue to provide a lucrative venue for fundraising with
the "Racing Against Cancer" nights. The Pro All Star Series and Northern
Race Tire, who contribute a percentage of the proceeds from each tire
sold, were recognized for their continued involvement with the program.
Cal Green, Director of Exhibit Sales, accepted the award on
behalf of Speedway Illustrated Magazine. The fundraising season
kicked-off for the RAC Program on a high note when over $1,766 was
raised at the show display provided courtesy of SpeedwayEXPO. While
Darlene and Kevin Ashline of Richmond Raceway were honored during the
ceremony, several of the young competitors at his facility took center
Willie Pelotte of Oakland , ME , a 13-year-old Senior
Sportsman competitor, established a new single-season individual
fundraising record by a Richmond Raceway junior ambassador with over
$1,600 in donations. Fellow Richmond Raceway competitors Kayla Ashline,
Tommy Stilpen, Dustin Whitcomb, and Jordan Brown were also recognized
for their efforts.
Long-time supporters Sugar Hill Speedway returned to the
annual awards banquet with pride in their fundraising accomplishments.
In total over $4,073 was raised by their Junior Ambassador Program and
their 2nd Annual "Endure for a Cure" event. Owners Mark Piekarski and
Bob Stanhope could not be in attendance on Saturday; however, former
owners Archie and Debbie Archambault, who remain the driving force
behind the fundraising events and activities at Sugar Hill Speedway,
accepted the appreciation plaque.
The Junior Ambassador Program, established in 1999, has been
a successful program enabling youth racers and their families to become
involved in a number of fundraising capacities at the Speedway . This
year the six ambassadors, Russ & Laura Wood, Luke LaBonte, Austin
Brehio, and Dillon Wyman, combined to raise $2,463.
The Wood Family of Pelham, NH, raised $630 by selling raffle
tickets and spirit bands. Austin Brehio of Hopkinton , NH , sold
'lottery squares' during the weekly race programs to earn $500 for
R.A.C. Luke Labonte of Litchfield , NH , raised $500 while Brandon
Allbee of North Haverhill , NH , and Dillon Wyman of Woodsville , NH ,
participated in their local town fair to bolster fundraising. The Hot
Laps Karting Center hosted the "Endure For A Cure" endurance karting
event to contribute $1,610 to the track's cumulative total.
"We are committed to continuing in our efforts to help keep
this wonderful organization active," said Debbie Archambault. "We cannot
think of a better way to honor our friends and loved ones who are
fighting cancer. In order to do so, we must all help out in whatever way
we can to support critical research, education, advocacy and patient
It is an undisputable fact that there is strength in numbers;
however, the will of an individual should never be underestimated. The
proof of that was evident during Saturday's festivities as well. Five
individuals were recognized for their Silver Level ($250-$999)
involvement with the Racing Against Cancer Program. B&M Motorsports of
Maine, Skip Culbertson of Iowa, Max Zachem, Steve Romjue, and Paul
Tuthill each participated in personal fundraising activities in support
of the R.A.C. Program.
"In 2006, we had one Gold Level contributor (a $1,000-$4,999
in fundraising), "said Vice President, Steve Fales. "This year we have
seven team members that fall within that category."
Katrina Canney, a 17-year old Late Model competitor at Lee
USA Speedway, turned her talents from racing to fundraising to earn
$1,152 for the Racing Against Cancer Program. Cortland, NY-based Team
LaCross Motorsports helped raise not only funds but much-needed national
attention for the R.A.C. Program while they competed in the ARCA RE/ MAX
Series. The fundraising efforts of Chase Racing, who fields cars in the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, helped to raise $2,500. Fellow Modified
competitors, Czarnecki Brothers Racing, who field cars in the True Value
Modified Racing Series for ace Ted Christopher, raised $3,500 with their
fun and festive pig roast.
Bill Doll, a World Karting Association and American Karting
Association competitor, has worked tirelessly for several years to gain
exposure for the program in the karting ranks. His efforts in 2007 also
raised an outstanding $3,692. Avid R.A.C. volunteer and active crew
member on Gregory's AllStar Race Truck team, Dave Crout, has a portion
of his paycheck donated directly to R.A.C. each week. With a corporate
match from his employer, AETNA Insurance, Crout's total contribution
exceeded $1,800 in 2007.
Norm Moriarity, a long term member in good standing, was
recognized as the lone Platinum Level member for his contributions of
time, energy, and unparalleled commitment to the Racing Against Cancer
program. Two prestigious specialty awards were presented to conclude the
award presentations portion of the ceremony.
Gold Level fundraiser, Steve Pukas, a SHS Modified competitor
at Sugar Hill Speedway, was honored with the William J. Fales Spirit of
Sportsmanship award. Pukas embarked on his own personal crusade to bring
exposure to the Racing Against Cancer Program. While participating in
several racing shows, Relay for Life events, and community programs,
Pukas also raised nearly $2,000.
The East Coast Mini Sprint Association received the Jodi B.
Blanchette Award as the highest overall fundraisers for the 2007 season.
On June 16, the organization hosted a Racing Against Cancer Day at Whip
City Speedway in Westfield , MA .
"It was very dirty, very exciting," said Blanchette of the
ECMSA event, "and very lucrative for the Racing Against Cancer Program."
The event, which raised over $4,200, received support from
nearly every race team within the organization including notable
fundraisers Kristen Phillips, Mike King, Brayton Round III , and John
Marangio. Top fundraiser Kristin Phillips accepted the award on behalf
of event coordinator, Robin Montessi, who could not be present at the
The most compelling portion of the ceremony came when all in
attendance realized the fruits of their labor. A check in the amount of
$25,000 was presented to Bruce Marshall of the American Cancer Society.
"It is easy to get a cynical view of the world," said
Marshall. "This program is the goodness of humanity."
From research to patient programs, the Racing Against Cancer
Program assists in many aspects of the fight against cancer. Dick Cyr
accepted a check in the amount of $7,500 to help with the expenses
incurred in the day-to-day operation of David's House, a haven for
terminally ill children receiving treatment through Children's Hospital
at Dartmouth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and their families.
"In the 24 years that I have been doing this," said Cyr
emotionally, "the racing community is the most generous and most caring
people that I have ever worked with."
At the banquet, the Racing Against Cancer Program announced a
new beneficiary for the 2007 season. Foxwoods employee Paul Messina
accepted a check in the amount of $2,500 for The Tomorrow Fund.
"One day, I met Paul in the hallway," said Blanchette, a
dealer at Foxwoods, "and we started talking about the treatment that his
son had received at Hasbro Children's Hospital. I could tell by the look
in his eye, that this charity had been very helpful to him, that is was
very important to him. I knew that the Tomorrow Fund was something that
the Racing Against Cancer program could get behind."
The Tomorrow Fund is a non-profit organization that provides
daily financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their
families who are treated at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI
. To learn more about the organization log on to
The remaining funds raised during the 2007 season will help
the Racing Against Cancer Program achieve the goals set forth for the
coming year. The continuation of the nationwide marketing campaign will
ultimately help enhance awareness programs and membership and donation
drives. Additionally, the Racing Against Cancer program will expand in
2008 to include an advocacy program. More information on the
'Celebration of Life' event, planned for the summer of 2008, will be
Despite the fact that fundraising was down for the 2007
season, the future looks bright for the Racing Against Cancer program.
Ken Davie, Vice President of Table Games for Foxwoods, delivered good
news during the ceremony.
"Foxwoods is very proud to be the sponsor of this fine
program. We have been for years and will continue to be in the future.
We have recently reached an agreement to extend our support of the
program through the 2008 season."
With the backing of Foxwoods, the inspired work of Scott
Gregory, and the unwavering commitment of the team members, Jodi
Blanchette's dream will remain a reality.
Dale Wolbrink/ Racing Against Cancer PR
November 12, 2007