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Published: Thursday, 5/13/2010

Fremont racers seek to help cancer victims

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

FREMONT - There will be some surprisingly young faces around the pit area Saturday night when the field of racers attacks the one-third mile oval at Fremont Speedway.

As part of the "Racers Racing for the Cure" program, the race teams have adopted children from the Clyde cancer cluster as honorary crew members for the night.

Donations will be accepted to benefit the children and their families, a 50/50 drawing will be held, and special T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts will be on sale.

"We were looking at possible groups we could help out, and since these kids are basically our neighbors and our friends, it seemed like a perfect fit," said Jim Burkett, who has been one of the driving forces behind Racers Racing for the Cure.

"We ended up adopting them, and the response from the drivers and teams has been great. Everyone is excited about the opportunity to do something to help these kids and their families as they cope with this disease."

Jim's father, Alex Burkett, an icon in the local racing community, was taken by cancer about two years ago at the age of 63. The first Racers Racing for the Cure event, which was to be a fund-raiser highlighting Alex's courageous fight against pancreatic cancer, became a memorial to the longtime supporter of local racing after he passed away prior to the event.

"This event follows perfectly with my father's way of thinking, because he always had a soft spot for children," Jim Burkett said. "He was always doing things to help out younger people. He would be really happy that we are carrying this cause along. These kids from Clyde, they are our neighbors, and you always help out your neighbors."

The gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday at Fremont Speedway, which is located at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds just off the U.S. Route 6 bypass. After the qualifying on the slick, clay semi-banked track, the racing begins at 7 p.m. for the 410 sprints, 305 sprints, and the dirt trucks.

On Sunday, Fremont Speedway will hold its Third Annual Alex Burkett Memorial Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a charity auction, entertainment, and food and beverages.

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.



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