Sponsor a 2014 SEMA Cares Pinewood Car and Help a Child in Need

By Luanne Brown

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (center) attended last week's Pinewood build day at Childhelp in Lignum, Virginia.

Nothing is more Americana than a good, old-fashioned Pinewood Drag Race, and the season is now open! Each year, hundreds of SEMA-member companies step up to generously sponsor Pinewood Drag Race cars, with 100% of the proceeds going to qualified SEMA Cares charities.

Last week, several volunteers attended the first build day at Childhelp in Lignum, Virginia. Celebrity attendees included racer Hunter Shelton of the Truckin Thunder Sportsman Division at Virginia Motor Speedway and Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson. Each took the time to sign autographs and be a part of the Pinewood build process.

Held in conjunction with the annual SEMA Installation Gala, the SEMA Cares 2014 Pinewood Drag Races take place Friday, July 18, 2014, at 12:00 p.m., at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Convention Center in Pomona, California. There is no better location for Pinewood Drag Races than Pomona—home of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and Auto Club Raceway.

SEMA members can race either a car or a truck in three classes: Stock, Unlimited and Modified. Council members can either sponsor child-built cars and trucks in the Build It for Me (BIFM) Stock Class or they can build and enter their own SEMA-supplied stock car or truck. Stock-Class racing usually garners the most entries with a typical speed of 3.2 seconds on a 50-ft. track. For hardcore speed enthusiasts, the Unlimited Class has only one rule—that one item from the stock kit be used. Cars in this class run sub-3 seconds and many of the past top builders include some of the most recognized names in SEMA. The Modified Class is for the racer who wants to put a little more time into "tuning" the SEMA-supplied stock kit.

Special features of SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races include the annual HRIA Builders Challenge and Council Cup. Watch as some of the biggest names in hot rodding build state-of-the-art custom pinewoods that will be raced and then auctioned off with all of the proceeds going to SEMA Cares. Council members are invited to come out and challenge their peers for the opportunity to win the coveted Council Cup. The more cars or trucks fielded by each council member increase their chances of winning.

If you're the hands-on type of council member, SEMA invites you to attend one of several build days where you can help the children sand, paint and assemble the cars for the races. Each child will build two cars: one to keep and one reserved for sponsorship by a caring SEMA-member company or individual. Members interested in participating in one of the build days are invited to contact, or visit the Pinewood Drag Races and SEMA Cares Facebook pages. Two build days remain:

  • May 31, in Beaumont, California, at Childhelp. To volunteer, e-mail Susan Alfonso.
  • June 10, in Randleman, North Carolina, at Victory Junction. To volunteer, e-mail Eric Saltrick.

Proceeds from the races will benefit SEMA Cares charities, including Childhelp and Victory Junction. Childhelp assists abused and neglected children by providing counseling and programs in a safe and secure living environment. Victory Junction provides the camp experience for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses who otherwise would not be able to go to camp.

Sponsoring a SEMA Cares pinewood drag race car is easy…and rewarding. Register now, and help a child in need today.