By BILL FOLEY
Racers and racing folks are generous to a fault and thus came the creation of the DT100.
Dave Thomas Jr., whose dad drove the famous Flyin’ 5 in days gone by, helped bring the DT100 to life and as a result nearly $300,000 has been raised for the Make a Wish children.
Thomas said, “I have never driven, but dabbled in a Four-Cylinder. However, I am a fan and with all the friends I have in racing I wanted to do something special with race drivers and fans.”
Explaining the DT100, Thomas said, “We hold it at the Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough, Maine. I thought it would be neat to have a race which would allow fans to race with the drivers.”
Continuing he said, “I started out supporting Luther Gray and his charity efforts in Oswego with his Make a Wish Auction. Then I decided to do something here (New England) and the first couple of years made a donation to Luther’s efforts. However, we’ve kept it going and all of the money we raise goes directly to the kids trips. There are no administrative costs.”
The concept involves heats, consolations and main events where this year 15 drivers were in each feature field. Thomas explained, “Sometimes the big name drivers win and other times the big name drivers might not be so good in a gokart. It is thrilling to watch fans get their first wins in heats or consolations.”
Fun is critical as drivers have come from nearly 15 states to participate in this annual event.
Thomas explained the way to participate as he noted, “We had 93 drivers this year and each driver or participant has to have at least $120 to donate as well as a $50 fee to pay for the use of the facility.”
The organizer said, “This was a big year and we raised somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 dollars. Bob Weber’s family brought in the biggest donation of around $11,000.”
However, this is where Central New York drivers Andy Noto and Chad Phelps got involved as Thomas explained, “Andy was the second biggest fundraiser for the event.”
Andy said, “We got invited to run this charity race for Make a Wish and it was made up of numerous drivers from throughout the Northeast with NASCAR Touring Modified, ISMA Super drivers and drivers from Lee and Star Speedways.”
Noto explained, “They broke it down to four different weight classes, lite, medium, heavy and extra heavy. Chad and I were in the bottom of the extra heavy class.”
Continuing he said, “They did the line up so that the guys that weighed the most started in front for the heats. I started dead last and Chad second to last. Both of us were in the same heat and that is our luck. They took two to the A main. Chad finished second and I finished third. I was running second with three to go and Chad gave me a little help and was able to get back by me for second. We had a healthy chat about that after the race. I passed him clean, him not so much.”
I ended up running the consi and won it. Both of us got in the feature and worked into the top five before getting involved in a wreck. I finished eighth and Chad ninth.”
However, it wasn’t about racing as much as it was about help kids in the Make a Wish program.
Sadly, this was the final DT100, but over the years nearly $300,000 has made the life of a person in need or facing tremendous physical or mental difficulties receive a brighter moment that they, and their family, would long remember.
Racing people are good people.
There is always hope someone will pick up the ball as Thomas has created a successful and meaningful fundraiser. However, no matter what happens it was a heck of a run.