Millions tuned into the weekend’s Daytona 500 making NASCAR’s kickoff race the most viewed in five years.
More than 100 local businessmen and women suited for 500 laps and 6 hours of go-karting up at the Chicago Indoor Racing Center for a fundraising event.
Continental Motors Group of Naperville teamed up with DuPage PADS for the Third Annual Drive For 75: Race Against Homelessness to help support the mission of DuPage PADS.
“It’s its just a wonderful event where people with a passion for racing can now turn that passion to the mission of DuPage PADS who are committed to end homelessness here in DuPage County,” said Executive Director of PADS, Carol Simler.
Currently, more than 700 DuPage County residents are without secure homes.
“Federal and state funding’s are dwindling so we need events like this to fuel the fire,” said Joel Weinberger.
As a Board Member of DuPage PADS and also the owner of Continental Motors in Naperville, Weinberger came up with the go-karting idea three years ago in hopes of revving up even more revenue for the charity.
“I believe that if you have a passion, that helps fuel a good success. So I’m like ‘hey let’s have a go-kart race and see how much money we can raise’,” he said.
Each team collected $2,500 in order to enter the race. They then were encouraged to find creative ways to fundraise even more.
“I really wanted to take it to the next level so about two or three days ago I told them I said if I get another $500 to get it to $3,000 I’ll shave my mustache, if I get it to $4,000 I’ll shave my head,” said Team Wobble’s Gordon McGrew. “And within about 24 hours, they ended up with about $5,000 in donations.”
Proceeds will help boost supportive services for the shelter.
“We have the solution to end homelessness and that’s housing coupled with supportive services, employment, and education,” said Simler.
Thanks to this event, PADS was able to live up to the $75,000 goal mark.
“We started at $25,000 and raised $50,000. Last year we started at $50,000 and we were almost to $100,000. Today, it’s drive for 75 and we’re already at $100,000,” she said.
Many of the teams represented local automobile or racing companies, but one team was made up of Starbucks baristas, mostly females, who said driving is fun, but their main goal was to raise money for the cause.
“Anyone in my family and even myself can be one paycheck away from being homeless so it’s important for me to help as I can,” said lady driver, Sidney Wibben.
“It’s always been something that could happen to any of us, so it’s important to help those people out so that way when you get on down at times there’s someone there to help you, too,” said driver, Dennis Neels.
Sheila Sarovich serves at the Board President of Directors for DuPage PADS. She drove in the event last year, but this year she volunteered to be the pit boss. “When you bring people together who all have an infinity for something like racing, you can match that affinity and that passion for racing to say help us address this problem, help us find a solution to end homelessness,” she said.
The event left DuPage PADS with $87,000 for their cause, but an anonymous donor brought their total to $100,000.
Weinberger hopes that next year’s event will be the “Drive For 15” with the goal of raising more than 155,000 dollars for charity.
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