"Challenge the Champions" Successful for the Spalding Foundation

In just fifteen days, Spalding Foundation Director, Betty Sherwood and her dedicated group of supporters transformed a fleeting idea into a successful fund raiser.  Last Friday night, The Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers hosted their first in what is hoped to be an annual event at the Seneca Grand Prix. Over 40 local and professional drivers raced with race fans in a “Challenge the Champions” family fun evening raising over $ 2,200.00 for the Spalding Foundation.  Shangri-La II Motorspeedway in Tioga Center, NY along with Grafix by Billy and Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park in Wyalusing, PA came on board to sponsor “Challenge the Champions”.  Former NHL Centerman, Jason Bonsignore, owner of Seneca Grand Prix donated the track and cars for the event. Ozzies Brisket from Binghamton, NY set up their BBQ Grills to feed the attendees.  NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Mike Wallace was entertaining as he raced with his son Matt and many of the fans. Wallace’s Johnny Davis Motorsports crew all came to support the Foundation, including team owner, Johnny Davis. ARCA driver, Brent Cross was glad to be involved and had his car on display. The car was the one he raced at Pocono the week before. Local drivers represented all forms and levels of racing from dirt tracks, pavement tracks, microd and go-cart tracks were on hand. Canandaigua Speedway announcer and radio personality, Paul Szmal  was joined by Shangri-La II Motorspeedway and Dover International Speedway announcer Tom Cummings for the play by play.  Shangri-La II Motorspeedway’s Director of Public Relations, Watkins Glen International and New Hampshire Motorspeedway announcer Al Robinson served as Grand Marshall for the event and got things going with “Gentlemen Start Your Engines”.   “I can not thank everyone involved enough” said Betty Sherwood. “ From Jason Bonsignore and Ron Hills and The Race Report donating their resources; to all of the drivers, crewmen, fans  and event sponsors coming together on short notice gives me encouragement that we could make the event even bigger next year if the opportunity presents itself”.


To learn more about The Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers, go to their website: www.spaldingfoundation.org


The mission of the Spaulding Foundation for Injured Drivers is to provide monetary support for drivers, crewmen and racing officials who have sustained injuries in a race related accident at a NASCAR, dirt or local licensed track in New York State and around the United States.

In 1988, Rod Spalding was seriously injured while racing at the Rougemont, North Carolina Speedway. Spalding was a well-known and popular driver at the Shangri-La Speedway, Owego (Tioga Motorsports Park), as well as a member of the NASCAR Modified division. Immediately following Spalding’s accident in 1988, Betty Sherwood from Owego, NY organized an event that was held at Quinlan Park, Waverly where fans helped her raise more than $25,000.The following year Sherwood formed the Spalding Foundation in honor of Rod Spalding, and serves as president. Diane Crooker of Horseheads, NY and Pam Olenski of Maine, NY complete the three member board. Since its formation in 1989, the Spalding Foundation has donated over $100,000 to more than 130 individuals and families.

The Spalding Foundation is supported solely by donations and various fundraising events. If you would like more information on how you can contribute, please contact :

Betty Sherwood, director
1074 Sulpher Springs Rd.
Owego, NY 13827
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