COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 15, 2017 – Through VETMotorsports, an award-winning, non-clinical outreach program that honors and empowers veterans with service-related injuries through active participation in motorsports, two United States Army veterans from Indiana had the opportunity to get behind the wheel in a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) autocross competition this past weekend.
The VETMotorsports program was created to provide inspiration and motivation to post-9/11 veterans with service-related injuries by making them part of a new team and giving them a new mission. VETMotorsports recruits participants, embeds them with professional racing teams or puts them behind the wheel, and covers all expenses for them a caregiver to take part in the experience.
Competing in the SCCA’s National CAM Challenge event from August 11-13 at Grissom Aeroplex in Bunker Hill, Ind., were Purple Heart recipients SPC Matthew S. from Rockvielw, Ind. and SPC Justin H. from West Lafayette, Ind. Both veterans were injured serving in Iraq.
The two veterans drove high-performance American muscle cars in the competition provided by Indiana SCCA club members.
These SCCA events, which are open to the public, feature timed competitions in which drivers navigate one at a time through a defined course. The veterans race against the clock rather than other cars, and compete not only against themselves for their best time but ‘civilian’ drivers as well.
VETMotorsports’ SCCA autocross program is made possible through a grant from the SCCA Foundation. In addition to placing injured veterans inside the ropes and behind the wheel at select SCCA events, the program creates mentorship opportunities for them with SCCA members and staff.
The program kicked off in March in San Diego and is placing veterans behind the wheel at events across the country throughout the 2017 season.
“Racing is more than just a sport, it’s therapy for me that works,” said US Army veteran and participant Justin H. “I get to use my adrenaline for a good purpose. Thanks to the experiences I have had racing I have the ability to stay on course when life throws me a curve. I really look forward to racing in the future and I hope more veterans choose to get involved with VETMotorsports and SCCA,”
“We are very grateful to the men and women who have served our country in defense of our freedom,” said Howard Duncan, SCCA Senior Director of Rally/Solo. “Military service builds skills in leadership, teamwork, and dedication to task, all of which are applicable to motorsports. The SCCA Foundation is pleased to give back to our veterans through this program and welcome them to be part of the SCCA family in every community across the country.”
“Losing 22 veterans a day to suicide is something we just can’t abide,” said VETMotorsports Founder and Executive Director Peter Cline. “Having the SCCA work hand in hand with us to honor and empower these brave service men and women is incredibly gratifying. The guys had an amazing time this weekend.”
VETMotorsports is an award-winning, non-profit, non-clinical outreach program that honors and empowers injured post-9/11 service members by embedding them with professional racing teams and putting them behind the wheel to race in amateur events. By placing veterans in hands-on, high-stress, team environments that mimic active duty, the organization gives them direction, empowerment and challenges that help them focus on ability and moving forward rather than disability and the past. Since its founding in 2012, VETMotorsports has helped more than 160 injured veterans participate in 60 motorcycle and auto racing events across the United States. More information about the organization is available at www.VETMotorsports.org.
Founded in 1944, the Sports Car Club of America®, Inc. is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Chevrolet, the Official Truck of the SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Mobil 1, the Official Oil of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.