parents.racen.winnerRumble Ridge was the setting for Skyview Drags 2nd Annual Junior Dragster Parents Race for Charity this past Saturday, September 1, 2012.

Ten Junior Dragster racers got their parents or hired guns to cram themselves into cars designed to carry 8-18 year olds down the 1/8-mile track at speeds up to 85 mph. Reporting for racing duty were AJ Meir driving the Ron Klein Jr. car; Felicia Kipp, driving her daughter Shelby’s car; Chrissy Klein, driving the Haley Teed car; Anna Burgess, driving her daughter Morgan’s car; Debbie Nolan driving the Abby Hacker car; Tony Ardillo, driving his son Anthony’s car; Marc Caruso, driving his daughter Ava Lawler’s car; Tony Zangari, driving the Kimberly Klein car; Julia Gallick, driving the Randi Teed car; and Dani Houghtalen, driving her son Hayden’s car. With only one time trial to hone their skills, during which 7 of the 10 racers had red lights, meaning they left the starting line before they were supposed to, the adult racers reported to the lanes for Round 1 eliminations supported by the junior racers now in the enviable pit crew positions.

With hired guns paying $20 to race and parents paying $10 to race, the first round quickly halved the field. But the first round non-winners were able to partake in Buy Backs, with hired guns paying $10 and parents paying $5 to try and get back in the show. For Round 2, eight competitors roared down the lanes at speeds that surprised many of them. By the semi-finals only 4 racers remained. Up first, Pro class racer Tony Zangari from Clay, NY driving for Kimberly Klein faced off against fellow Pro class racer Julie Gallick from Athens, PA driving for Randi Teed with Zangari taking the win. The other race paired rookie racer Felicia Kipp from New Albany, PA driving for Shelby Kipp taking on Super Pro racer Marc Caruso from Rochester, NY driving for Ava Lawler with Caruso taking the win.

With the finals now set, Zangari and Caruso wheeled into the lanes to face off for their pride and their charity. Caruso, crammed tightly into daughter Ava Lawler’s car to race for the Adam Walsh Foundation for missing and exploited children. Zangari, though young & slim, was finding the Dote Racing car of Kimberly Klein to also be a tight fit. The Klein family and Zangari were racing for the Dan Cerio Foundation. Cerio was a Pro Sled drag racer who lost his life in a tragic racing accident earlier this year. The Cerio family is working to improve racing safety and one of their first projects will be to raise money for new lighting to be installed at their local race track. Both Caruso and Zangari are no stranger to victory lane and there were high hopes from both families that their racer would finish with the win light coming on in their lane. Both racers left cleanly with Zangari having the starting line advantage with a better reaction time, but in
the end it was Caruso who put together the best package and won the race as his children, Camrie Caruso, Ava Lawler and Jack Caruso screamed enthusiastically from the starting line.

“This race was a huge success for us because, in the end, the parents and children had a wonderful time together,” said event organizer Kathy Kiekel, who together with her husband Don and their company Precision Crankworks sponsor the track’s Junior Dragster program every week. “We couldn’t do this without the support of Skyview Drags, who donates back 100% of the racing fees collected from this event to the winner’s charity.” In addition, generous donations from Greg Zyla, Le-Ann Kipp, the Burgess family, the Ardillo family, the Teed family, the Gallick family, the Hacker family, Mitch Alexander, the Houghtalen family, Russell Racing, Rose Kipp, Brian Anderson, Solid Gold Jewelry and Precision Crankworks brought the total amount raised to $800.

While the event was a winner take all race, two last minute donations came in for the runner-up so that both charities would benefit. Caruso earned $600 for the Adam Walsh Foundation and Zangari and the Klein family earned $200 for the Dan Cerio Foundation. “The generosity of our racers and fans is one of our greatest blessings here at Skyview Drags,” said track director Amy Culver. “We are thrilled to be able to run such a fun and family oriented charity event here at the track and look forward to doing this every year.”