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Help Kids Build Cars

The kids from Childhelp enjoyed a day to build cars to be sponsored at the SEMA Pinewood Drag Race and were able
to take them for
test runs down the track.

SEMA-member companies have the opportunity to get hands-on with the kids from Childhelp by helping to build derby cars at the Childhelp Village in Beaumont, California, on Saturday, May 16, 2009.

The cars will be raced at the second annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, sponsored by eBay Motors, which benefits children’s charities Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. Childhelp is an organization that assists abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction Gang Camp provides life-changing camping experiences to disabled and chronically ill children.

“Last year, we were able to donate a good deal of money to help these kids, as well as go out and build cars with some of the children with Childhelp,” said Gregory Parker, 2009 SEMA Pinewood Drag Race committee chair. “We also gave them a track to keep on-site so they could run their cars year-round.”

Approximately $40,000 was raised last year for the two charities. Stock cars were built by children at their camps and then sponsored by SEMA-member companies through their donations to the charities. Each of the 156 cars built were sponsored.



“I wish that everyone out there could have seen the smiles on those kids’ faces when they built those cars and ran them down the track,” said Parker. “On that day, those kids were Mario Andretti or Dale Earnhardt."

This year, about 250 cars will be built at both the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp facilities. Each child will create two cars - one to keep and one that will be available for sponsorship by SEMA members. This year's car kits have been fashioned after the 2010 Ford Mustang.

Similar to the previous year, a team of SEMA-member volunteers and Pinewood committee members will lend their expertise to the children. Ryan Friedlinghaus from West Coast Customs will also be attending, along with his staff.

"This is a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one time building and decorating a car with a child," said Mike Spagnola, SEMA board member and Pinewood Committee member. "You can really make a difference in a child's life."

The volunteer event at the Childhelp facility will be held 9:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. To volunteer, contact Mike Spagnola at, or Gregory Parker at 615/746-8765 or

Members that sponsor a child’s car will be the team owner and will race it under the child’s name. To sponsor a child-built Ford Mustang derby car, or to get your own kit, visit

The Pinewood Drag Race will be held 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center. It will be followed by the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, where the 2009 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees will be announced.

For questions about the Pinewood Drag Race and the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, contact Lisa Moreno at 909/396-0289, ext. 105 or