Teams race mini Vettes to raise money

Posted: April 22, 2007 in Uncategorized

Charity event for Junior Achievement helps group fund educational activities 

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By DOUG WATERS, The Daily News,
Saturday, April 21, 2007 10:38 PM CDT 

 U.S. Bank’s racing team won the 2007 Gold Cup at Saturday’s Mini Corvette Challenge in the Greenwood Mall parking lot.

Roughly 25 corporate teams raced Corvette-style go-carts in several heats to set the fields for Gold, Silver and Bronze Cup races. The 13th-annual race benefited Junior Achievement of Southern Kentucky, according to Heather Rogers, the local JA president.

Darren Woodruff, U.S. Bank’s Scottsville community president, drove the last half of the 20-lap Gold Cup for his team; regional bank president Craig Browning drove the first.

“Once we got the lead, we were able to bring it home,” Woodruff said, beads of sweat covering his face after the race.

Browning and Woodruff have driven together for four years and the pit crew has been together for five, and the team also won the Gold Cup in 2003.

Going into the most competitive of three races, Browning said, drivers expect fierce competition and bumping around the twisty track, which is surrounded by straw bales.

“You don’t ever know what’s going to happen,” he added.

A General Motors team, one of three of its Saturday entries, took second in the Gold Cup; Wachovia Bank’s team finished third in the nine-car race. Sun/Dollar General’s team took first in the Silver Cup and Nyloncraft’s team was first in the Bronze.

Judy Edwards of Bowling Green got to see her son, Eric Edwards, one of Nyloncraft’s drivers, race for the first time Saturday.

“I didn’t realize that the competition was this intense,” she said, noting that she fears her son’s eventual goal of racing at Beech Bend.

Nicki Carver, wife of Dollar General pit crew member Alan Carver, said being a spectator is “nerve wracking,” especially after watching two cars flip on Saturday. One driver was transported to a hospital by ambulance as a precaution; the other got up and finished his race, she said.

“Our suits are really top of the line,” Carver said of the protection gear her husband’s team wears.

Rogers said teams pay $4,500 for the cars, which are ordered from the same company. The cars then belong to the teams, but are impounded a week prior to the race.

“Some set up practice tracks in their company’s parking lot. The key is to have light, small drivers,” she said.

The event likely raised $30,000 Saturday for Junior Achievement programs in the region, which serve about 14,000 students with economic and financial literacy education, Rogers said.

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