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Stafford Motor Speedway is hosting a field of accomplished current and former championship drivers for this year's 4th annual Champions for Charities event, which will take place on Friday, June 27th. In the up coming weeks before the event, Stafford Speedway is providing a profile on each of the championship drivers. This week, the spotlight is on both Richie Pallai, Jr., the 2009 Spring Sizzler SK Modified® Champion and 2013 Champions for Charities winner, and David Arute, the 2011 Wild Thing Karts Senior Outlaw Champion. Pallai will be racing for The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, and Arute is racing for the Ben Was Here Foundation.

Both Arute and Pallai are competing in the 4th Annual Bill Tamburro, Jr Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit their charities. The Golf Tournament to benefit both foundations, as well as the Lustgarten foundation, will be held at Hawk's Landing Country Club in Southington, CT on Monday, May 19, 2014 starting at 7:30 AM. For more information on the golf tournament, contact Lisa Arute at (860) 684-2783 or lisaarute@staffordspeedway.com.

Pallai's charity, The Catherine V. Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, started as a collaborative labor of love between the Hubbard Family and The Animal Center in Newtown to recognize Catherine's dream. Catherine, a first grader lost in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, had a passion for animals and insects alike and often created special "homes" for the animals she encountered each day. Possessing strength and kindness beyond her years, at the end of each day Catherine would send her special friends off with a kiss and whispered request of, "Tell your friends I am kind," in the hope that they would return.

To carry on Catherine's legacy of providing homes for animals in need, the Foundation is working with the Animal Center in Newtown to build the CVH Animal Sanctuary. The Sanctuary will provide a loving, nurturing environment for all animals in need of a home, featuring a dog and cat adoption area, a farm animal rescue, and a wildlife rehabilitation center. Visitors can also participate in humane education programs through the learning center, spend time surrounded by beautiful butterflies in the butterfly garden, and tour a gallery featuring Catherine's artwork.

Arute will be racing for the Ben Was Here Foundation, in memory of his cousin, Ben Buckley, who passed away as a result of a severe asthma attack in January of this year. Ben was in the 2nd grade and was an aspiring artist who enjoyed baseball as well as building Lego's. The Buckley family has established this educational scholarship fund in his memory. To make a donation, visit https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/gvv3/prayer-for-ben-buckley.

Both Arute and Pallai plan on trumping the competition in their fundraising efforts once again after Arute raised $7,205 for the Lustgarten Foundation, earning him the pole position, and Pallai raised $4,246 for the Catherine V. Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. Both drivers have competed in the Champions for Charities event since it started back in 2011. Pallai is the reigning champion of last year's event, and both he and Arute look forward to being competitive on the mini-mile track.

Having had years of experience in the Wild Thing Karts Program on Monday nights, as well as being the 2011 Senior Outlaw Champion, Arute is looking forward to running in the 4th year of this event.

"After my little cousin passed away in January I wanted to find a way to help his family in their efforts to get word out about asthma," said Arute. "So when the family established the Ben Was Here Foundation I knew that racing in the Champions for Charities race to raise funds for the Foundation would be a perfect tribute to Ben. I'm looking forward to the golf tournament on May 19th in which the proceeds will be donated to Ben's Foundation and the CVH Animal Sanctuary. The Champions for Charities race will be held on Friday June 27th and I'm hoping my car will be hooked up so that I can make a good run in memory of Ben. I think champions have gotten used to the karts and racing on the mini-mile and it should be an exciting race again this year with 3 and 4 wide racing."

After winning last year's race, Pallai is ready for the chance to have a second consecutive victory. The 2009 Spring Sizzler SK Modified® Champion is eager to get back into a Senior Outlaw kart and race with fellow open-wheeled champions for the title.

"Outside of family and sports, animals are my next love," said Pallai. "Raising as much money as we did last year for the CVH Animal Sanctuary and then winning the race was pretty cool. My relationship with the Hubbard family has developed into a friendship since I first met the Hubbard family. At first, I wasn't really sure how to approach it with all the family had been through, but I talk with Jenny Hubbard at least once a week. It's turned into a really great friendship. Their son Freddy is just old enough to understand about racing and he is a big fan of mine and I was able to find a go kart over the winter that I got running and I'm going to bring it up to him. I know it's only a charity race but it was really nice to win the race last year for Pete and Fran Lawlor, who let me use their Senior Outlaw Kart. And being able to win the race when the Hubbard family was there at the track watching me was a huge bonus in addition to the money that we raised."

The Champions for Charities event will take place around the Stafford Mini-Mile track for a 15-lap feature during the Friday June 27th race program. For more information about the Champions for Charities event, please call the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: May 8, 2014

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