Diesel truck guys typically don't feel comfortable expressing emotions, especially the crying kind. But, after a church-induced twinge of conscience, National Hot Rod Diesel Association's (NHRDA) Randy Cole admitted to shedding a tear, well, almost shedding a tear.
"They were talking about giving back," Cole said. "And even though it sounds bad, we didn't really give back at NHRDA. I mean nothing just out of the kindness of our hearts."
So Cole decided to change that.
At the NHRDA Texas Diesel Nationals, held April 10, at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, NHRDA partnered up with the Texas Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make the day extraordinary for Sammy, Lucas and Jeremiah and their families.
"We're just trying to give back and give them a day to forget the struggles and the trials they go through," Cole said. "I've never seen anything like it at a gathering of the diesel community it was a cool bonding experience in Texas, some of these guys won't even talk to each other, but the kids changed that. They were shaking hands and taking pictures, it was great."
After seeing the kids smile at Texas, Cole wanted more.
"It's good to give back; it's a good feeling.getting hugs from those kids was the most gratifying thing to happen to me all weekend," Cole said.
NHRDA will be partnering with the Indianapolis chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make 10 children and their families VIP guest of NHRDA at the FASS Diesel Nationals June 5, at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
The FASS Diesel Nationals, one of NHRDA's biggest, will have sled pulls, drag racing, Dyno competition, Burnout contest, a Show and Shine, and $35,000 in prize money will be divvied out. NHRDA will provide the children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation with food and booth, and having the racers sign their t-shirts and they'll get to sit in their trucks, plus the best box suites to watch the races and the kids get to a ride in a mock drag race, complete with horns blaring.
"What we are doing is bringing them out to be a part of the association," said Brad Ekstam, owner of FASS Diesel. "We'll take them down to the drag strip and let them ride down the track. It just brings a great joy to the kids, they did it at Dallas and the kids just loved it. We are also going to offer to take them out in our '06 Dodge Cummins. It was built for open road racing and we race it against Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and it gets up to165 mph, 145 through some of the straights, it's a truck that handles corners. We're going to offer to give them a ride on the interstate in it."
Although they didn't finish, the Dodge did run a nice 25:43.919 @ 137.572 in the Grand Sport Provisional at the 2010 Big Bend Open Road Race, so the kids may just want to take Ekstam up on his offer.
In addition to the Make-A-Wish event, Ford will be on hand, the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant will raffle off a 2011 Ford F-250 SuperDuty and a 2009 Harley Fat boy and trailer, to benefit juvenile diabetes. Raffle tickets will be $10 for the truck and $5 for the Harley and trailer. You can visit www.fordktpcares.com for more information.
Another nice bonus, NHRDA has signed with O'Reilly Auto Parts stores to give away 50,000 free tickets to nationals.
Cole said he owes a big thanks to "Brad at FASS fuels, working with sponsors like brad makes my life easier. It's great to have a sponsor that cares about the event."
Tears or not, it might pull at those diesel fueled heartstrings to know that Cole says Miss Sammy still tells everyone she's got friends with `big wace twucks."
For more information, visit www.nhrda.com.