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Brown, Johnson Jr. were at a charity event at Speed Raceway

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Kevin Hatfield envisioned a day where he could have a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Wednesday night, his dream became a reality.

Hatfield received help from Ted Yerzyk at Don Schumacher Racing to help plan the event at Speed Raceway in Cinnaminson, NJ. The idea first started in February of this year during the Matco Tools Expo in New Orleans.

Antron Brown Screengrab (Photo by Anthony Caruso III)

Antron Brown Screengrab (Photo by Anthony Caruso III)

“Ted and Antron [Brown] was there, along with all of our Matco Tools people,” Hatfield said. “I’m up in a room — and I was looking around and my nephew had throat cancer and Make-A-Wish had helped him with giving him a pool for the house for his one wish. Last year, they gave him the wish. With all this going on, with our family going back and forth [to medical appointments], I decided I wanted to do something to give back.

“I walked downstairs to Ted and told him I came up with this crazy idea — which was to do a charity event for Make-A-Wish. We’ve run these go-karts before here at Speed Raceway with Antron, so the idea was to make an event with our distributors making a donation — and have their customers be a part of it, too. They can have the exposure, too. We wanted to get the customers involved with Make-A-Wish, along with the distributors. The distributors bought tickets, then gave them out to their customers. Everything we generate from here goes to Make-A-Wish.”

According to Yerzyk, the event raised $2,839. Hatfield also had help from Gary Goglia, Eric Mihalyi and Tom Jones from the Matco Tools side for the event, as well.

“I think it all starts with Terry [Chandler] and her choosing Make-A-Wish to represent and promote all the great things they do for the kids,” Make-A-Wish Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. said. “For everyone at DSR to see what a great program it’s been — and to get our other great sponsors and companies involved with it and support it — I think it shows what a great program it is. What a great charity this is.

“You want to be the face of it — the face of the program. And I want to be involved with it. Any time when a company like Matco Tools steps up and supports our program, I want to be involved and supportive. We moved some stuff around so we can be here. It’s been fun and it’s a great cause.”

DSR drivers Antron Brown and Tommy Johnson Jr. were there to show their support for the cause. In addition to signing pistons and heads, the two also talked to the fans, along with racing against them.

Brown had the fastest lap time of the night despite going back-and-forth with Hatfield.

“We always come here to Speed Raceway and come here with our distributors,” Brown said. “To come back here on [Wednesday night] with Make-A-Wish and Matco Tools — and have all the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish, that’s what it’s all about. We’re having fun with the distributors and their customers — going back and forth, but the main thing is this event is for a great cause. When you go out here and have fun, while trading plastic side-by-side on a go-kart, and raising money for Make-A-Wish to give a kid a smile bigger and brighter than ever before, that’s what it’s all about.”

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