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Rotary Club on fast track for fundraiser
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Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman drove the pace car for last year's Laps For Life at the fairgrounds race track. - photo by File photo
Laps for Life

A practice race will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Races will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on the midget racetrack at the Cumming Fairgrounds.

The event is free for spectators.

For more details or to register, contact (678) 350-8303 or e-mail

The Lanier-Forsyth Rotary Club is bringing some heat to December with its fourth annual Laps for Life fundraiser.

Drivers will race in more than a dozen quarter-midget heats Saturday on the Bill Thomas Raceway at the Cumming Fairgrounds to raise money for the Lanier Extended Area Driver Education Resource, or LEADER.

“It’s fun,” said Michael Hogan, founder of LEADER. “It’s been received quite enthusiastically for the past three years.

“The Rotary has done a find job, they really just go all out for this ... they have been angels in the dark, saving kids’ lives.”

The nonprofit organization works to prepare teenagers for the road through driver’s education courses, simulation and real-life driving instruction.

LEADER also works with teens and adults with poor driving records.

With education cuts likely in the state’s budget, Hogan said he is concerned the “state will withdraw funding for the driver’s education programs. And if they do that, we’re going to be left carrying the ball.”

Money raised through the event will help maintain the program in schools. It will also go toward buying 12 more driving simulators, bringing the group’s total to 48.

Rotarian Missy Bushong said this year’s event will be similar to the past three, with two major differences.

First, it falls on the same day as the Christmas in Cumming Arts & Craft Show, also held at the fairgrounds, which could benefit the fundraiser.

“It will be a place for mom and the children to go ... if they don’t want to watch dad race,” she said. “There will be a lot of activities to keep the family busy and keep the family there and give moms, dads and children a reason to come out together, instead of dad having to come by himself.”

Second, the cost has been lowered. While the crafts show may help draw attention to Laps for Life, the recession could affect support.

“We actually cut our prices down a whole lot,” Bushong said. “The carts last year were $500 and this year they’re $250. We did that because of the economy, but we were hoping to grab more people.

“It’s turning out to where I don’t think we grabbed more people, I think we just got lucky with the people who know what we do and why we do it, so these are just committed folks.”

Among this year’s participants is Ashley Payne, granddaughter of Forsyth County Clerk of Court Doug Sorrells.

At age 18, Payne sped past some strong competition during last year’s race. This year, Sorrells said, “I think she’s going to win again.

“I’m looking forward to it and she is too,” he said. “It goes to a great cause.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at