The North Carolina Nationals isn’t the only thing the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association launches the weekend of April 17-19 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. The huge car show in Raleigh also marks the debut of the Goodguys’ Autocross for Kids, the first of six such events this year at which you can made a donation and ride with a professional driver at tire-squealing, passenger-screaming speeds as he or she maneuvers through the cones on the Goodguys autocross course.
The point to this exercise beyond the adrenalin rush you’ll experience is to raise money for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer. (To learn more about the foundation, see Larry Edsall’s commentary.)
If you’ve paid attention to Barrett-Jackson auctions in the past few years, you may be familiar with this foundation, which was established in the memory of Austin Hatcher Osborn, who was born August 15, 2006 but just seven weeks later was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer that would claim his life before the end of October.
“Hatch,” that’s what his parents nicknamed their firstborn, and automakers and others donated cars for Barrett-Jackson to sell to help fund the foundation Hatch’s parents started.
“We talked intently for a number of years to find a charity/foundation that made sense for our crowd,” said Betsy Bennett, a Goodguys staffer, who met with Hatch’s mother and foundation president Amy Jo Osborn last fall at the SEMA Show. That’s the annual trade show of automotive product producers and the shops that buy and the garages that install those products on everything from new cars to customs and hot rods.
“The story is so powerful,” Bennett added, “and someone in every family has had cancer. The Goodguys is a family company, and it’s especially hard when cancer touches your kids.”
“Goodguys events are family events,” added Marc Meadors, Goodguys president. “The hot rod/car community is a huge family and bringing the Austin Hatcher Foundation into the fold is a win-win for everyone. We hope to do great things for them this year in raising awareness and funds in the fight against pediatric cancer.”
The way the Autocross for Kids works is that while attending one of the Goodguys shows where the program takes place, you make your donation — a $20 contribution is suggested — and you go for a ride, which will be offered on the Friday or the Sunday of the Goodguys event weekend.
But there’s more to it than that. In conjunction with the Autocross for Kids at the car show, the Austin Hatcher Foundation will be taking its 40-foot pinewood derby-style racing track to a local children’s hospital so the children there also can enjoy car-related fun.
“We are overwhelmed at the support Goodguys has already demonstrated and continues to provide the foundation,” Osborn said. “They have offered up these amazing events and continue to look for new ways to help. They have really rallied to support our cause.”
The Autocross for Kids events will be held at Raleigh, Nashville, Indianapolis, Columbus (Ohio), Bowling Green (Kentucky) and Charlotte. But you don’t have to attend one of the Autocross for Kids events to show your support. You can make a contribution through the Autocross for Kids website.