Drag racers make time to encourage others

REACTION TIME

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From Susan Wade

 

Dignified even in his disappointment last November, knowing he  had no
chance for a third National Hot Rod Ass’n. Funny Car championship, Tony 
Pedregon said, “It’s a tough loss, but I’ll get over it. I think what’s  important
in life is to be a good parent.”

His children, daughters Cecily and Arielle and sons Desidario and 
Benecio, once again are learning from him that compassion can trump need, that  in
the midst of a drought can come showers of blessings.

Tony Pedregon’s drag-racing operation, already disadvantaged as an 
independent among conglomerates, has struggled for the past two seasons because 
of the harsh economy. Even with funding from Quaker State and its various 
brands, as well as some help from NitroFish owner Kenny Koretsky, Pedregon
needs  money to fuel his passion, to sustain his competitiveness, to support
his  employees, to pay his bills, to provide for his family.

He and two-time champion brother Cruz Pedregon share a shop in  Brownburg,
Ind., and, he said, “We’ve been able to do a lot with very  little.”  Also
of comfort is his conviction that “money doesn’t buy you  everything.”

  His own career path has developed detours. But just before this past 
weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, Tony 
Pedregon and wife Andrea announced that they’ll host a fundraiser June 26, 
during the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio.

All proceeds will go to the Smile Train, an organization devoted to 
helping the millions of children in the world who suffer from cleft lip and 
palate, many of whom cannot eat or speak properly, and in many countries aren’t 
allowed to attend school or gain employment.

Cecily Pedregon helped her family raise nearly $20,000 last year for 
Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality hair 
prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children with medical hair loss such as 
auto immune conditions, severe burns, and radiation treatments.

Because that campaign was such a success, the Pedregons have planned 
another event this year for financial disadvantaged children.

“We chose Smile Train because we have a strong desire to help  children in
unfortunate circumstances,” Tony and Andrea Pedregon said. “Smile  Train
not only offers free treatment but free training for medical  professionals,
as well,”

After the Saturday qualifying session at Norwalk, the Pedregon family 
will conduct a trackside auction of drag-racing items.

In addition, Pedregon said, “We hope to provide the fans with some  unique
meet-and-greet driver opportunities during the auction.”

Among the auction enticements is advertising space on the wing of 
Pedregon’s Quaker State Funny Car for a future race. The only stipulation about 
the personal/business ad is that it must be non-competitive with the car’s 
current sponsors.

Individuals interested in donating items for auction or making  donations
may send them to Andrea Pedregon, Pedregon Racing LLC, 462 Southpoint 
Circle, Suite B, Brownsburg, IN 46112. Checks should be made payable to Smile 
Train.

n   Sportsman racers / Funny Car sponsors Rodger and Karen  Comstock will
continue their Mail Terminal Services “Mail From Home” program,  sending
boxes of post cards of support and encouragement to U.S. soldiers  overseas.
This year, the program — which has become popular at NHRA national  events
through Don Schumacher Racing — has expanded to include schools and  service
organizations.

Any school or organization that would like to write post cards of 
encouragement to the U.S. troops should send a request to _mts.mfh@gmail.com_
(mailto:mts.mfh@gmail.com) . MTS will send post cards  for the project and signed
handout cards from Funny Car driver Jack Beckman and  a Certificate of
Service for the school or organization.

To find out more about Mail Terminal Services, go online and find 
_www.mailterminals.com_ (http://www.mailterminals.com/) .

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