The day – Local celebrities and politicians go carting for charity

Montville – When you think about state legislators becoming competitive, it can usually be in the context of elections. But on Wednesday night, they joined other local celebrities and seasoned racers in donning helmets for competitive go-kart races – all to raise money for local charities.

Local radio host Lee Elci hosted the Thanks4Giving Magna-Karta Racing Championship – with the tagline “Speed ​​for need” – at SuperCharged, in which up to 40 people who donated $ 500 could drive. But some donated more and more people donated, and the GoFundMe page raised over $ 23,000.

The drivers were given rider names, meaning the booming ad for the first round included, “Race fifth row, Paul ‘Clambake’ Formicaaaaa!” (State Senator Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, owns the Flanders Fish Market.)

The winner was second student Nick “Nicky Big Boy” Luther, whose father, John “Lex Luthor” Luther of Luther Fence in Groton, came third. Young Luther said his father used to race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, and the two come to SuperCharged often. In second place was Justin “Two Treads” Rando, a professional motocross racer.

Other attendees included Senator Heather Somers, R-Groton; representing Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme; Representative Greg Howard, R-Stonington; 2018 gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski; Patrick Sasser, founder of No Tolls CT; East Lyme Police Chief Mike Finkelstein; former New London Police Chief Peter Reichard; former CEO of Mohegan Sun Mitchell Etess; Bruce Flax, executive director of the Grand Mystic Chamber of Commerce; and The Day reporter Rick Koster.

Spectators observed from the railing of the second-story deck overlooking the runway. Bob and Amy Stefanowski’s daughters even made signs.

Here’s how it worked: Each participant chose a charity, with the money divided so that the charities chosen by the fastest drivers got the most money. There were four rounds, with the top five drivers from each advancing.

Both Luthers chose the Sacred Heart School and Rando went with the Brian Dagle Foundation, so these organizations will receive a large chunk of the money. Other selected charities include Wings of Freedom Animal Rescue, Connecticut Burns Care Foundation, Safe Futures, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Waterford Country School, and Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services.

Rep. Irene Haines, R-East Haddam and Amy Stefanowski teamed up to choose the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, “to double our earnings,” Haines said, noting it was going to be cold soon.

“It’s like radical generosity, we call it,” said Annah Perch, development manager for the Homeless Hospitality Center, who – along with Haines, Stefanowski and others – wore a bright orange shirt highlighting the center. “It’s amazing the creativity of people. “

She said, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, that the center needs money more than ever and that she was blown away by everyone who came out.

Haines noted that she had never gone karting before, and Joe de la Cruz representative D-Groton said the same, although he joked before his race that he was training. to hold a trophy. He finished second out of nine in his race, behind Elci.

De la Cruz was the only Democrat elected to participate, although Elci was quick to point out that he had asked others. “I understand that Ned is busy,” he said of Governor Ned Lamont.

Elci said he tries to do something for the community every year. “I thought it would be fun to do something for a charity that isn’t necessarily limited to people asking for money,” he said. “People are competitive, so a lot of people who kind of heard me talk about it on the radio offered to fork out some money to be a part of it.”

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