Racing for a Reason raises over $16,000

Event has raised more than $150,000 in a decade
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop the community from making its contribution to local childhood cancer awareness Saturday during Racing for a Reason night at Shawano Speedway.

More than $16,000 was raised Saturday, pushing the event’s 10-year total over $150,000.

The proceeds from the event go toward Child Life Services of St. Vincent in Green Bay. Brad Luepke, the speedway’s promotions and operations manager, said the goal is to make the pediatric floor the best in the Midwest.

The event originated 10 years ago when Luepke’s son, Reed, was hospitalized battling leukemia.

After the initial fundraiser was done, Luepke and his wife, Lori, decided to keep the event going and to have the proceeds go toward Child Life Services. The family never expected the event to gain the support it has over the past decade.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would grow to the level it’s grown to,” said Brad Luepke. “It’s one of those nights where if you’re a race fan — and even if you’re not a race fan — you mark it on your calendar. To think where it is now is mind blowing. There’s really not any words that can describe how I feel.”

With the pandemic going on, some of the regular donations the speedway usually receives for the event didn’t come in, but the community came to the rescue.

Luepke said that there were maybe 50 or so baskets available about a week before the event was scheduled. In the days leading up the race night, over 100 more baskets were dropped off.

“It was unbelievable how things just kept coming in. A lot of years, it is a lot of last-minute baskets, but nothing like it was this year. We went from 50 to 160 in a matter of a week,” said Luepke. “It’s a tribute to the community we live in and the racing community.”

Because of the pandemic, items available during the event were spread out more on tables than in years past. The situation also took away some of the individuals who typically help out with the event, so just two families were used to get through the evening.

“I’d like to reach out and thank the community, thank Shawano Speedway,” said Luepke. “Shawano Speedway gives us a venue that we can have an event to this size; the community for supporting it throughout the years. Hopefully we can do it 10 more and beyond that.”