Giving Back - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 9:48 am

Matthew Becherer, president, Homestead-Miami Speedway

When it comes to giving back to the South Florida community, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate our resources. As a track, we are in a unique position because we have a 1.5-mile oval that has been the site of NASCAR’s championship races for the past 16 years as one of our greatest assets.

So when we are creating new events or even improving on old ones, our first thought is how we can best utilize it.

Some of the most special events are those where we can help touch the lives of others.

This past Sunday, we had the pleasure of teaming up with a local business, Prestige Imports | Lamborghini Miami, to host the “Ride2Revive” charity event. For the second year in a row, children who are battling cancer and other life-threating illnesses made their way to the track for a ride along in exotic supercars.

The children who took part in the event came from a variety of locations in South Florida, including Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami, Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital in Hollywood and Chai Lifeline children services in Ft. Lauderdale.

Similar to last year, Ride2Revive really took advantage of the venue and put together great activities for the children, in addition to the on-track action. In the garage stalls, which are located just outside of pit road, children were getting their faces painted and taking pictures at a photo booth. The kids also got to meet and take pictures with their favorite fictional characters such as Spiderman and Moana. In one of the garages, kids signed their names and drew on a Lamborghini HURACAN.

But once the children got out onto the track and into the supercars, their faces really started to light up. Local

volunteers came out to support the cause and brought their own vehicles, which they used to take the kids around the track. Each time that a child got into one of the cars you could see the excitement on their face, and once they made the lap around the track’s road course, the child would get out of the car with a grin from ear to ear.

The children had the chance to experience the high speeds of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Ferraris, all while riding on the track’s 18-20 degree variable banking.

And not only did Ride2Revive get behind these kids to support them during the four-hour event, but so did the City of Homestead. Homestead Police brought in a S.W.A.T. truck and put on a K-9 show for the kids while they were enjoying a catered lunch.

To cap off the day, a representative from the city presented Ride2Revive a proclamation, recognizing January 28, 2018 as Ride2Revive Day in the City of Homestead.

Like Ride2Revive, we hold numerous other philanthropic events throughout the year, including events through our very own charitable outreach program, “Driving for a Cause.” One of those is our annual “Give Back at the Track” charity event. During Give Back at the Track, South Floridians are invited to come out to the Speedway to drive their own cars around NASCAR’s championship oval.

The proceeds collected from 

he event benefit Driving for a Cause. Through the years, grants have been awarded to several youth and education programs in South Florida with funds raised through the charitable outreach program.

In addition, the track launched its youth field trip program in 2016, which provides groups of students an educational experience at Homestead-Miami Speedway unlike any other. The field trip program, which is held in conjunction with curriculum from NASCAR Acceleration Nation, works to educate kids in the South Florida community. Kids are taught vital critical thinking skills through multiple subjects that are enforced in school.

A vast portion of the material is strongly focused on STEM education, which has become increasingly prominent in the classroom. To make the learning experience more interactive for the kids, they are given the opportunity to craft their own simulators and partake in games that help them understand the key aerodynamic principles of drag, downforce and drafting – NASCAR’s Three D’s of Speed.

We also partnered with Florida International University SAE (Society of Automotive engineers) in August to hold the inaugural “Formula Miami Invitational,” where SAE teams from Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University and University of Central Florida brought their own open cockpit racecars to the track to showcase their teams’ engineering and racing skills.

Then in October, the Speedway teamed up with Ford STEAM Experience to host more than 100 members of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida for their second annual “Girls’ Fast Track Races.” During the event, the Girl Scouts built mini-wooden racecars with the objective of using aerodynamics and weight distribution principles. After the racecars were assembled, the Girl Scouts put their cars to the test in head-to-head races on a mini-track to see whose car was the fastest.

The track has always considered itself a leader in South Florida, and when it comes to giving back, the community is always at the top of mind. We will continue to put our world-class facility to good use, as we are set to host a number of events in 2018 that are beneficial to the community.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Feb. 2 Fast Lane Friday Presented By The Ticket Clinic

Feb. 2 Miami Exotic Auto Racing

Feb. 3-4 Chin Motorsports Car Club

Feb. 10-11 Championship Cup Series Motorcycle Racing

Feb. 17-18 Formula & Automobile Racing Association

2018 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 18

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship Race

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