On May 18, hundreds of excited racing fans cheered as an announcement came over the intercom at the Highway 30 Speedway. The unusual thing was that the race hadn’t started yet. The announcement was about a member of the crowd.
Janelle Lincoln, racetrack owner Bobby Lincoln’s wife, is one week away from her final chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer after being diagnosed in January. To celebrate and give back to the community, Bobby Lincoln said, they organized a fundraising event at the regularly-scheduled Thursday Night Thunder.
“My wife was diagnosed around the first of the year with breast cancer. We believe in giving back, so we decided to raise money for the Columbus Cancer Care Center,” Lincoln said.
This is the first time they’ve done something like this, he added. In addition to the proceeds of the race going to the cancer center, they also had a donation bucket, a 50/50 drawing and several promotional items as well as a different type of race for the night.
People are also reading…
“We have (shirts) they can buy also and we have our sports mod and one going so far as taking off the roofs (of cars) and calling it topless,” Lincoln said. “It’s neat because you can look in the car and see the drivers. It’s our first year doing this also.”
Brandon Spanjer, one of the racers, said events like this are pretty common during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but at the beginning of the summer not so much.
“This is the first time where it’s so close to home with the owners of the racetrack actually being affected and I think that’s going to resonate well, we’re going to get a good response from the crowd and the racers,” Spanjer said.
Several hundred did show up for the event, many wearing pink. Some of the cars “pinked out” for the event as well. Before the race started, announcers gave a short explanation of the event and asked how many in the crowd were survivors of breast cancer.
Spanjer said, based on how closely breast cancer affects many people and the cause behind the event, not to mention the payouts, he expected a good turnout before the race started. They had a sport-modified event and a rather unusual topless modified event, where the cars have no roof and one can see inside of the driver compartment.
“A lot of people say it’s their first time and they don’t know what to expect but once you get rolling, it’s just like any other race but it’s cool for spectators. They can see the driver, there’s no roof, no side panels on the deck and you can see right in the cockpit,” Spanjer said.
Bobby Lincoln’s father Abe Lincoln, Bobby said, always wanted to see 100 cars at the track. With the combined effect of the cause, the payouts and how close the racing community is, he expected there to be a great racer and spectator turnout.
“The racing community is very tight-knit and everybody kind of takes care of everybody. You’ll often see everybody coming together to support the cause,” Spanjer said. “With breast cancer, you can throw a rock and it’ll hit someone who’s been affected by it one way or another. I think it’s a thing that has a lot of resonance with people and something they can get behind.”