CONCORD, N.C. — When Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert lost his teenage sons John and James in an auto accident several years ago, he made the decision to do something to help save other people’s children.
As a result he created BRAKES (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) a free driving school that teaches teenagers save driving techniques. Thursday Herbert hosted the annual Brakes banquet at the Embassy Suites here.
With a star-studded group of attendees and supporters the event raised money through silent and live auctions as well as the sale of tables for the dinner.
Special awards were presented during the evening to BRAKES supporters. The Foundation Award went to Hendrick Automotive Group, while a pair of Danielle Lee Kennedy Awards were handed out, with one going to Carol White, who raised funds in order to honor her son who was killed in an auto accident by bringing a BRAKES class to Juneau, Alaska. The second Kennedy Award went to NHRA Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson for his work in bussing kids from his Tennessee hometown to brakes classes in Charlotte.
Appreciation Awards were presented to UPS and the North Carolina State Patrol, while the Wheels In Motion Award went to KIA Motors. Finally, the Vision Award went to BRAKES supporters Tom and Joan Kalimanis.
Among the attendees were Speedway Motors Chairman Bruton Smith and former Charlotte Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. The two have rarely attended the same function since Wheeler left SMI several years ago.
“I have no idea how we got these two in the same room,” Herbert joked, “but I’m glad they are here.”
Others on hand included drag racers David Grubnic, Tony Schumacher, Greg Anderson, Jack Beckman, Shirley Muldowney, who is a BRAKES board member and Clay Millican. Two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, former Penske Racing executive Don Miller and NHRA President Tom Compton were also among the attendees.