Sacramento media personalities to race for charity in Roseville
They’ll be racing for money – for charities, not themselves.
And while they’re at it, they’ll be racing for bragging rights, pride and even revenge.
That sounds much like a typical NASCAR Sprint Cup race on any given Sunday, but these leadfoots aren’t named Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. These personalities come through the televisions and car radios of most of the population in the greater Sacramento area – at all hours of the day and night, and always in more presentable attire than a fire suit and helmet.
They’re TV anchors and reporters, disc jockeys and sports writers, and they’ll compete in the second A-All Mini Storage Media Blitz charity race before the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event Saturday, Oct. 16, at All American Speedway in Roseville.
The inaugural event in 2009, organized by race team owner Bill McAnally of Antelope, raised more than $20,000 for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Touch of Understanding of Granite Bay.
“Whenever you see that person’s trophy being held high and the trophy in fact is a big, fat check for a great charity, that’s what it’s all about,” said Mark S. Allen, entertainment anchor for “Good Day Sacramento” on Channel 31. “As much as we goof around, everybody’s going to win.”
Each media team, driving Late Model stock cars, will race this year for charities like the Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
They’re also gunning for each other – namely, KCRA 3 News reporter Brian Hickey, who took the checkered flag last year.
A practice session was held Tuesday at All American Speedway at safe speeds and under the watchful, instructing eyes of notable area drivers like USAC champion Tony Hunt of Lincoln and All American Speedway Late Model champ Matt Scott.
Hickey wasn’t there to defend himself – anchor/reporter Mae Fesai was alone in the Channel 3 car, to her liking – and his media foes had no problem sharing their intent.
“Just about everybody here is gunning for Brian Hickey,” said Mark Billingsley, driver of the Sacramento Bee car. “He talked smack before the race, during the race, after the race, for 365 days.”
Billingsley felt he might have taken some of the bite out of Hickey after beating him in the Placer County Fair’s media lawnmower race in June.
“He’s still hurting about that,” Billingsley claimed. “If I finish fifth, as long as he finishes sixth, I’m happy.”
There will be only a race this year and no qualifying.
“Qualifying got a little expensive last year, thanks to Mr. Demsky,” McAnally said during the drivers’ meeting Tuesday.
To which Fox40 weekend sports anchor Mark Demsky replied to laughter, “You got a lot of pub out of that, though.”
Demsky said he was driving well and turning laps at just more than 15 seconds on the one-third-mile track. That was before he put the car into the wall during qualifying.
“How fast was I going Bill, about 75 when I hit that wall?” Demsky asked.
“I’ll tell you how fast it was,” McAnally said. “It was $12,000 worth of fast.”
Demsky, who has photos of the mangled front end of the Toyota Camry on his cell phone, was cautious Tuesday and said his goal this year is to get to the race.
“I did everything but race last year,” he said.
Fesai returned to the pits after the first session sweating, breathing heavily and ready for more.
“Dude, this is the best adrenaline rush ever, and here’s the greatest thing: You think racecar no way, I cannot do this type of thing. You get in, and it’s more natural than walking. You literally feel like you are just gliding through clouds out there,” she said between drinks of water. “It’s amazing. It’s the best feeling. This is all about girl power, OK? Move over, boys.”
McAnally noted that in addition to enjoying the event, the media personalities help promote it.
“They talk about it, have fun with it,” he said. “We have radio stations getting on TV, and TV stations fighting with other TV stations. It’s a great event.”
They’ll have two more practice sessions before taking the green flag. Allen has his game plan ready.
“My whole scheme is just to go faster than the other cars, and at the end of the day, if you ain’t rubbin’, it ain’t racin’,” he said. “Wait, don’t print that. Bill will kill me.”
Bill Poindexter can be reached at email@example.com.
ALL AMERICAN SPEEDWAY
What: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Toyota/Napa Auto Parts 150, SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series, Legends of the Pacific, WSRA scale racing and the second A-All Mini Storage Media Blitz benefit race for charity.
When: Saturday, Oct. 16. Grandstands open at 3 p.m.
Where: All American Speedway, 800 All America City Blvd., Roseville.
Tickets: General admission, $35 for adults and $15 for juniors ages 6-11. Kids 5 and under will be admitted for free. VIP Hospitality tickets are $70 and include a race ticket, meal with beverages, gift bag, VIP seating and driver appearances. Tickets can be purchased by calling (916) 676-0256, in person at 8636 Antelope North Road in Antelope and through the Placer County Fair office at (916) 786-2025. There is a $5 discount for tickets purchased in advance.
Pick-N-Pull Fan Fest: The Fan Fest will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, with Pro Series West racecars and haulers on display for an autograph session, a UTI Pit Crew Challenge, games, family activities, food and beverages.
Information: (916) 676-0256 and www.billmcanallyracing.com.