DELAWARE, Ohio (Feb. 22) — For the past five years, a dedicated group of close drag racing friends have gathered for the Mr. Aruba Winter Nationals in an effort to raise money for the JEGS Foundation Racing For Cancer Research project. Despite extremely cold temperatures, the group recently gathered for the 2011 running of the event with a total amount of $4,900 raised to combat cancer.
Mike DeChicco and Jane Graebner, aka Mr. and Mrs. Aruba, were especially motivated this year as their longtime crew chief, Jim Thompson, has just become another cancer survivor, reminding everyone the disease does not discriminate.
In all, 41 drag racers filled out the field, with buybacks offered to any driver eliminated in the first round. This was especially good news for Doug Thompson as his buyback investment took him all the way to the final round of the Gambler’s Race, where he dismissed Chip “the Secret Weapon” Foust with a perfect .000-second reaction time. There was a total purse of $1,096 split between the two men, and both immediately donated half their winnings to the JEGS Foundation.
The “Race For The Wires” sponsored by Fire Core Ignition was won by longtime foot-braker John McClellan over a very game Matt Flowers, who refused to use a delay box.
Mike “50/50” Harbolt continues to be the luckiest racer in the group, winning the 50/50 raffle for the third time in the last four years and once again donating his share of $165. Harbolt’s luck carried over to the Hemi Challenge, where he walked away with the top prize — a custom pair of New Balance shoes, donated by Comfort Fit Shoes.
Other top donators included Doug Duell, Dean Bresler, Mark Blue, Steve Kuklica, and Dennis and Durina McCarty.
In five years, the Mr. Aruba Winter Nationals has donated $18,000 to the JEGS Foundation Racing For Cancer Research project.