It Takes a Village to Go Racing 4 A Reason
On December 1st and 2nd, race car driver Karen Salvaggio competed at "25 Hours of Thunderhill"--the longest endurance race in North America--to benefit United Spinal Association, a non-profit organization I support 100% , dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and the Chairman of the Board of UnitedSpinal.org and I were pit crew members!
This is a family affair for Karen and her husband Andy, who built her Factory Five Cobra. Her daughter Tracy, with soon to be racing grandson 'Evan in the Oven', runs the radios with the radio tower and the Crew Chief's. But it takes an entire village to run a race team at this 25 hour enduro race. Friends, family, NASA race addicts, mechanical engineering students ,other drivers to take the wheel on two hour shifts, a pit crew to get and load gas, wrench turners, experienced welders, loaders, pushers and not to mention an entire crew that cooked and served hot meals and drinks for us for the entire 25 hours!
This was no luxury box seat event either.We were
camped out all weekend in motor homes, tarp tents with heat lamps scattered around
the camp for brief warm-ups...and it was cold!
Here is some chatter from the pits:
12 Hour Update
Blue skies met us this morning, and the temps were in the 50's all day. Currently 25 degrees under starry skies.
Best News: No rain!!
Green flag at 11:00 AM, car running great first 1 1/2 hours until tranny let go. Down 18 laps to tranny change.
Back out and running good. Developed a vibration at 7 PM. Trac-loc
bracket broken on right side. Welded in pits and back out. Currently
running 9th in class.
Currently 10th in class, 54th overall
#4 GTM was running great. Just came into the pits with a broken transmission donut mount...and with out the coffee!
Currently 9th in class, 52nd overall
Currently 11th in class, 32nd overall
#10 Evana Cobra
Team Evans Cobra took the green, heating problems all day, head gasket change, overheated again.
Crew worked hard all day...Currently parked in the pits.
Racing 4 A Reason Team Update 12/3 2007: Karen Salvaggio completes 25 Hours of Thunderhill 2007 and places 8th in her class!
Since 2002, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race has been held annually at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California. The event, which was developed by the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, attracts amateur, factory sponsored, and professional race teams from all over the world. This year, over 45 teams will be competing. Each team will be running closed wheel and sports racers of all types and classifications. The race not only gives manufacturers and race car builders a platform to showcase their vehicles and products, but enables some teams to help support and raise money for their favorite charities--such as team Racing 4 A Reason, which Salvaggio is a member.
Created through a grassroots movement, Racing 4 A Reason
helps raise funds for selected charities by soliciting pledges at any
monetary amount per lap their cars complete at Thunderhill. The Racing
4 A Reason team has four cars competing at this year's event (one the
biggest teams at Thunderhill), supported by 16 experienced race car
drivers (four drivers per car) and a 60-person pit crew. Each car will
be racing for two charities, including Salvaggio's 1965 Factory Five
Racing Cobra that will be sporting United Spinal's logo. The team's
other cars include Factory Five
Racing's mid-engine super car GTM with a corvette suspension and drive
train and its race proven MKII that boasts the Ford 302 CI/T5 trans
power train.Salvaggio, who is also Editor in Chief for Thunder Valley
Racing, an automobile racing promotions, marketing, and management
company created to develop women race car drivers, has an illustrious
20-year career in motorsports with over 150 first place finishes in
driving competitions. She has also served nine years in the U.S. Air
Force as an aircraft mechanic and currently serves as director of
Student Support Services for a school district in Riverside, California.
I really had a blast and got an intimate up-close and personal experience on what it takes to race for 25 hours straight and found the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) racing community, who puts on this annual event each year, to be a very female friendly with many women participating as drivers, crew members and officials.
Ladies and gentlemen start your engines!
Lytle Thiesen's 25 Hours of Thunderhill Race Pictures on Photo bucket:
Jody DeVere's 25 Hours of Thunderhill Race Photo's on Flickr: