RPW Column: OCFS, Autobahn, Racers & Fans Combine To Raise $10,000 For Charity

Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – WEST NYACK, NY – According to Orange County Fair Speedway’s Marketing Director, Peter Reynolds, it was an event two years in the making.

The end result was a huge success.

“I have strong ties to Rockland County, so I wanted to try to figure out a way to draw more fans from the area up to OCFS,” Reynolds said. “So I thought that a cross promotion with Autobahn Speedway at the Palisades Mall would be beneficial to both facilities.”

It took some time and convincing, but Reynolds was persistent enough that Autobahn and OCFS started to help promote each other.

“And after we had done that, I wanted to figure out a way to have a charity event, something in the dead of winter that could benefit a good cause and give racers and friends a chance to get together.”

With the cooperation of Autobahn’s General Manager, Christina Implatini, an event was scheduled on January 27, 2022 to benefit the Penguin Plunge, a local charity in West Nyack that helps young children with serious conditions.

The call went out to drivers who would like to participate. And many responded.

The call went out for an event sponsor. Reynolds contacted Orange & Rockland Utilities and they graciously helped sponsor the event.

With all the proceeds from the evening which included entry fees, spectator fees, a silent auction, a 50/50 and Orange & Rocklands sponsorship went to the Penguin Plunge.

The goal for the event was $10,000. And it was with great pride that Reynolds, along with OCFS’s Director of Motorsports Brett Hearn, were able to present the big check to the representatives of the Penguin Plunge late in the event.

Before actual competition got underway, a match race was held between the Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus and Rockland County Executive, Ed Day. And Steve was able to bring back the 1st place honors back to Orange County in the good natured race.

In the racing part of the Pro/Am event, approximately 50 competitors signed in including 23 from the OCFS/Accord circuit. He races and Semi Features whittled the field down to 10 for the feature race.

The hometown Autobahn drivers were definitely the ones to beat as many of them looked very smooth on the track surface. And in the end, it was the Autobahn league regulars who dominated the podium at the conclusion of the night’s racing. Track champion Jack Carpentier was the winner followed by Danny Lohrey and Brandon Ovalles.

Even though they were on unfamiliar turf, 4 local racers managed to survive the qualifying events and make it to the feature, no small achievement with the level of competition from the Autobahn regulars.

OCFS’s 2021 358 & Big Block Champion, Anthony Perrego, qualified 4th. Billy VanInwegen, the USAC Wingless winner at ESW in 2021, qualified 6th. The all-time leading winner at OCFS, Brett Hearn, qualified 8th. And Eddie Owens, a winner in the Rookies at Accord in 2021, qualified 9th. Congratulations to these drivers for making the cut and giving the OCFS faithful, who made the trip down, some racers to root for in the feature.

But there were many winners Thursday night. All the racers who participated, all the spectators who came to watch, all the businesses that supported the event with items for door prizes and auctions. And most of all, the event organizers, Peter and Christina for their great work to support the Penguin Plunge.

Take a bow Crackers and Christina. You sure do deserve too!!

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