Wednesday, September 19, 2012
B.R.A.K.E.S. Benefit Golf Tournament and Annual Dinner A Gathering of Stars
by Bill Stephens
On Thursday, September 13, professional stars of the National Hot Rod Association, many of their fans, honored guests, television personalities, and a very special keynote speaker from Hollywood’s “silver screen” converged in Concord, NC to take part in a unique “double feature” to help raise further awareness and essential donations for B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe).
The non-profit 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to training young motorists to be safer and more conscientious drivers, held its B.R.A.K.E.S. Benefit Golf Tournament to begin the day at the beautiful Rocky River Golf Course adjacent to zMax Dragway, prior to the running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals—the opening event in the NHRA’s 2012 “Countdown to the Championship”. The tournament invited NHRA fans to team up with their favorite racers in an open format featuring a “shotgun start” at the picturesque 18-hole facility.
Headlining the list of racing celebrities from the NHRA were Funny Car’s Mike Neff, Dan Hood, husband and crew chief for Ashley Force Hood, Top Fuel’s Clay Millican and his team owner Mark Pickens, 2012 Top Fuel title contender Steve Torrence, and Shawn Langdon (who went on to win his first national event as a pro on Sunday in the final round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals). NASCAR was also well-represented by two-time Nationwide champion Randy Lajoie, legendary NASCAR crew chief and engine builder Waddell Wilson, and multi-time Legends series champion, Clay Hair. The list of celebrity golfers also included MRN’s Marty Hough and PRN’s Doug Rice.
The tournament was won by the team of Mickey Aberman and the James, McElroy, and Diehl law firm from Charlotte, NC.
“We couldn’t have been happier with the turnout and the enthusiasm we all shared during the tournament,” beamed Doug Herbert, B.R.A.K.E.S. founder and NHRA/IHRA Top Fuel standout.
“The fans that took advantage of the opportunity to play alongside their favorite racing stars and the way those racers enjoyed the experience of meeting and getting to know their fans on a spectacular golf course made for a truly unforgettable event.”
The second half of the B.R.A.K.E.S. “twin bill” unfolded that evening as the 5th Annual B.R.A.K.E.S. Dinner was held at the nearby Embassy Suites Hotel with a star-studded guest list including 7-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher, Funny Car driver Alexis Dejoria, Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Steve Johnson, and Clay Millican. Marty Hough and Doug Rice were also in attendance along Kevin and April Locklear from the hit television series “Outkast Customs”.
VIP’s such as Rodger and Karen Comstock, John Bickford, Tom and Joan Kalimanis, and Coca-Cola’s Mike Adams also took part in the festivities as featured speaker, Rudy Reuttiger, whose inspiring life story was the subject of the motion picture “Rudy”, spoke eloquently about
achieving success in the face of daunting obstacles and challenging setbacks.
In addition, awards were handed out to special B.R.A.K.E.S. supporters from across the country, celebrating their commitment to teen safe driving.
“It was quite a day and quite an evening,” admitted Herbert. “Thanks to the selfless donations of everyone who supported our two events, we’ll be able to provide our Teen Pro-Active Driving Course to several hundred young drivers, and that’s the best part of all.”
For more information on B.R.A.K.E.S. or to make a tax-deductible donation, please log onto www.putonthebrakes.com