Local Media Celebs Amped Up to Go Racing for Charity

By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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There has been some trash talking among the local television and radio personalities who are slated to race Saturday at All American Speedway in Roseville as part of the NASCAR Camping World West Series championship extravaganza. "These pinheads? There's no competition down here whatsoever,” said Mark S. Allen, who is driving the KMAX 31 car for Make A Wish Foundation, when asked how his competition was doing. “Especially that Brian Hickey, I'm not convinced. His dad was a phenomenal racer. I don't know why the gene didn't get past him and that's just a shame.” A 20-lap race celebrating the City of Roseville's 100th birthday will include local TV and radio personalities racing for the charities of their choice. Racing for the Make-A-Wish Foundation are Dave Bender and his partner Brandi Hitt of KOVR 13, Mark Demsky and partner Natalie Bomke of FOX 40. Brian Hickey, KCRA 3, is racing for A Touch of Understanding, Dave Kelly and co-pilot Susan Brown of 101.9 The Wolf are racing for UC Davis Children's Hospital, Bob Moffitt of KFBK 1530 radio is racing for Foster Family Services, and Assemblyman Ted Gaines, in the Comcast SportsNet car, is racing for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The winner will have big bragging rights throughout the television and radio community, and will get $1,000 for their charity. Over the weekend the rookie group practiced in 96-degree temperatures. "You don't notice the heat in the car, but Dave Bender took a thermometer in his car as any good meteorologist would do and it said it was 130 degrees in the car,” Hickey said. “I don't doubt that for a second. I think it's going to come down to the 31 and the three car, judging by the first practice today. This car is just like a rail. We are not even pushing these cars close to their limits." After three practice sessions, the field took the green flag for a practice race. Hickey, who started from the back of the field, went full circle to win the multiple lap race. "The hardest part for me has been accelerating too fast down the straightaway,” Hickey said. “I'm fishtailing. I'm mashing down too hard you know. I want some go power. Beyond that when you go into a corner, it's the centrifugal force pushing you up against that wrap-around seat. The smell of the paint, the oil and racing fuel, and the sound of the vibration, it's really hard to describe how exciting it is." Hickey chose to race for A Touch of Understanding, which goes to schools and brings able-bodied and disabled people together. "They break the ice, break the barriers," Hickey said. “I went to one of their presentations at Twin Oaks Elementary School earlier today, and in there was a little kid named Tyler who is a NASCAR fan and it's hard for me to even talk about it because he's in fourth grade right now, and he's been in a wheelchair since first grade." "The kid has a heart as big as NASCAR, and you know I think he's an inspiration to all the kids around him,” Hickey continued. “He's stuck in a wheelchair, but that kid has already gone above and beyond what any normal kid can do and that's what this is all about. I'm gonna win it for that. I'm gonna win it for Tyler." "I drove one of Bill McAnally's cars about three years ago and I got the bug and have been begging to do it ever since,” Allen said. “Look at us now, we're doing it." "It's gear shattering, ground pounding action out there," Allen continued. "Everything you would expect. You think you know what you're getting into from driving aggressive as a civilian, but you have no idea what its like until you get out there and cars are flying by and flipping around." "This is a chance of a lifetime,” Allen said. “I've been so geeked out about auto racing since I was a little kid. I grew up in southwest Texas. You can only imagine how big auto racing was there, and of course it's proliferated the longer I've lived in California." Assemblyman Ted Gains was sorely disappointed when he found out all the driving spots were full, but then a spot came open and he jumped at the chance to drive. "The AAS is part of my assembly district and I've really wanted to support auto racing in my district," Gaines said. "I know how important it's been to Roseville for decades. When I was a kid I used to come down here and watch the races. I heard there was a celebrity race, but it was filled up. They had a late opening so they've been able to fit me in. I'm very excited about this opportunity. I went out with Paulie (Harraka) and he gave me some good pointers. I'm very excited for the opportunity to work with him and go have some fun." Gaines is the chairman of the Automotive Study Group in the California State Legislature. The purpose of the group is to educate people and to let them know there are 200,000 jobs in the state of CA that are related to the automotive industry. Whether it's through dealerships, parts, after market parts or racing, it's a huge industry. "We need to make sure that we promote our economy and also the automotive industry here in California," Gaines said. "There's a long-time love affair with the automobile here in California that goes back for decades. We're just trying to make sure that people are aware of that job creator and to help those folks out so we're not forcing jobs out of the state of California." Mark Demsky of FOX 40 will also be racing in the event. "I've known Bill (McAnally) for a while,” Demsky said. “We do our radio show on KHTK. I told him that we should do something to get the media involved, and Bill just took it from there and turned it in to a monstrous event. He painted all these cars, got them all built, got all the logos and got everybody involved. He took care of everything. Insurance, pit crews, crew chiefs. It's just amazing what he got done." "Its fast,” Bob Moffitt of KFBK 1530 Radio said. “You get in and you go through a corner that you have no business going around that fast. Your whole body is going one way and you're fighting to keep you body from going there, and you've got to worry about five other chuckleheads doing the same thing. It’s bound to get your blood pressure up a little bit. It’s fun and scary, but sometimes the funnest stuff is the scariest stuff." "I'm racing for an Adoption Charity that Clear Channel just signed up with,” Moffitt said. “I've always thought the world would be a little better off if we could find some good parents to raise the kids that need help, instead of just chucking them in a house somewhere with possible families that are just in it for the pay check. I'd like to see that old system revised." Asked if it might be a little scarier on race day when the stands are full, Moffitt indicated that he is more interested in what is happening down on the track. "The last thing I'm concerned about is the stands,” Moffitt said. “My wife and four-year-old daughter are out there now and I know they're waving and jumping up and down and Maggie is screaming 'Let's go daddy,' and my wife's going, 'Oh, you let Hickey pass you.' I can think about that now, but out there I'm just trying to make my line and go faster each lap because I've got to go faster to catch up with those guys." "I don't know how many of them have been out here during the week,” Moffitt continued. “I know Brian Hickey lives out here, so I wouldn't doubt that he's been out here a couple times getting a couple of extra runs in. His dad was a car owner and racer down in Southern Cal back in the 70s so I'm sure his dad has taught him a couple of things. Mike's a great guy." -- To contact the writer, visit or send e-mail to