Thursday, September 26, 2002
Auto Clubs Law Enforcement Appreciation Day - Drag Races Feature Top Cops' vs CelebritiesLos Angeles: Irwindale’s Street Legal NHRA dragstrip will again be the site of a hotly- contested round robin racing event sponsored by the Automobile Club of Southern California and featuring "Top Cops" from around the Southland going up against an equally-stellar group of celebrities and sports stars in a charity race-off to benefit the brand new Painted Turtle Camp for sick kids.
"Last year’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day event was our inaugural race on the Irwindale Dragstrip and it was a terrific way to kick-off the facility," said track GM Bob DeFazio. "We’re very pleased to be hosting the ‘second annual’ and even more pleased to be able to invite the public to join us for all the fun this year." DeFazio was referring to the fact that this year’s event will be open to the public. "We just had so much excitement last year that everyone said that it should be an annual event and that the fans should be allowed to buy tickets to see the show … That’s exactly what we’re doing."
Fans will be able to secure tickets to special Saturday event with all proceeds from sales going to the new Painted Turtle Camp to be located just north of Los Angeles. The camp will provide a meaningful, medically safe camp experience at no cost to children ages 7 to 16. The camp will serve some 1000 children who suffer from chronic or life-threatening illnesses each summer.
The Painted Turtle Camp’s stated mission is "… To provide a year-round, life-changing environment for these children and their families – one that allows children to participate in an authentic camp experience by supporting their medical needs and offers their families year-round care, education and respite."
For the Saturday races a virtual "galaxy" of stage, screen, TV/Radio personalities, recording, and sports stars are on the "Ready To Race" List. Among the celebrity drivers scheduled to appear are actors William Baldwin and Daryl Hanna, Alan Thicke, Kelly Perine and Neal McDonough. Radio mavens Tim Conway, Jr. (97.1 FM) and Shawn Parr (93.9 FM) will be at Irwindale along with former Raiders star wide receiver Willie Gault as well as rock and roll legend Meat Loaf (who has promised to drive, "Like a Bat out of Hell"). Advantage Ford Focus ZX’s that the celebrities and cops will compete in.
The brain child of Page Hanna-Adler and her celebrated record-producer husband Lou, Painted Turtle Camp will take its place in the "inventory" of Paul Newman’s widely-respected "Hole In The Wall Gang Camps" which include the original one in rural Connecticut, Lake Luzerne, New York; County Kildare, Ireland; just outside of Paris, France; Greensboro, North Carolina (founded by racing driver Kyle Petty and his wife
Pattie); in Orlando, Florida. Painted Turtle will be the first Newman-associated camp on the West Coast.
The "Top Cop" racers will include Los Angeles Police Chief Martin Pomeroy, whose office sent out some very authentic-looking, personally-signed "Subpoenas" to the invitees, Highway Patrol Chief Skip Carter, South Pasadena Chief of Police Daniel Watson, Covina’s number one man in blue Tim Raines, Irwindale’s Chief Joe DeLadurantey and about 20 other law enforcement agency heads from around the Southland.
The Painted Turtle Camp seeks to reach beyond illness … To inspire children with life-threatening diseases to become their greater selves. A trip to their website is well worth the effort, especially for a look through the live webcam trained on the construction site just over a beautiful lake. (www.paintedturtle.org <http://www.paintedturtle.org > )
Many of the participating law enforcement agencies will bring along informational units and displays, and all involved agencies have been invited to take part in a pre-race lap of honor on the Irwindale oval track at 6:45PM before the NASCAR races on Saturday night, September 28, 2002.
Gates open at 10 a.m. and racing gets under way at 10:30 a.m. with the finals expected to take place at about 2:45PM. Tickets for the close-up celebrity drag racing event are priced at only $15 for adults and $5 for kids and will be available at the gates on Saturday morning starting at 10AM. All law enforcement officers will be admitted to the event free of charge.
For more information contact Doug Stokes at 626-358-1100 (track), Page Hannah-Adler at 310-456-6350 or Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles Police Department’s Public Affairs Unit at 213-485-3281.