SANDSTON, Va. — Richmond Dragway recently created its own version of a team finals to raise money for local veterans.
The American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning Team Challenge was held October 5 at the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) member track . David Tatum (Top ET), Sean Sparkman (Modified ET), Amanda Lee (Junior Dragster), Derek Burkhead Sr. (Motorcycle) and Joel Kelly (Street & Strip) made up the winning team as a portion of proceeds were designed to benefit the Virginia Veterans Service Foundation.
In addition, a large contingent of veterans were admitted on property free of charge. The color guard from the VFW Post in nearby Mechanicsville presented the colors, and William Hammond, a World War II veteran and father to Modified division runner-up Willard Hammond was honored during the event.
The idea for the event came from the track’s 2018 IHRA Summit SuperSeries Mod track champion, Wendell Wilson, who is also a veteran.
“Wendell wanted to put on a race to give back to the rest of the veterans,” Richmond Dragway track owner Johnny Davis said. “He pulled things together and we were glad to support it any way we could. To produce an event to honor veterans and give them free admission to the race track for the day, it meant a lot for us.”
As a bonus, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning supported the event with a purse for a special Team Challenge where drivers worked together (1 Top ET, 1 Modified ET and 1 Junior Dragster or Motorcycle) and earned points towards a championship.
The special challenge champions were: Wyatt Colbert, Sean Sparkman and Quinn Gardner. The runner-up team consisted of Troy Williams, Brian McLauchian and Amanda Lee. At the end of the day, however, everyone involved was a winner.
They certainly enjoyed the World War II veteran being a part of the festivities.
“It was cool to honor the veterans out at the race track that day,” Davis said. “To see Willard Hammond’s 90-some year old dad out in the winner’s circle and see him get to be there when his son did so well, it put a cap on the whole thing.”
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