CONCORD, N.C. – Jack Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing NHRA Funny Car will have a different look in a few NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events later this season.
The Infinite Hero Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding to programs that help returning military veterans and their families with mental and physical ailments, will adorn Beckman’s Dodge Charger Funny Car in six races this year.
The partnership was announced Friday at zMAX Dragway by representatives from the Infinite Hero Foundation, DSR owner Don Schumacher and Terry Chandler. Chandler, the sister of retired NHRA Funny Car racer Johnny Gray, is partnering with Schumacher to fund the partnership so the Infinite Hero Foundation will not have to spend a dime on the sponsorship.
Chandler is already funding another DSR Funny Car this season to promote awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“Don was joined by Terry Chandler and they came together and said we want to donate cars and do a year of giving,” said Laurie Baker, director of the Infinite Hero Foundation. “The cost of this program and the running of the Infinite Hero car was covered due to their extreme generosity and not through foundation dollars, which is very important to us so that all of our fund raising and our money goes directly to help our military heroes and families.”
The Infinite Hero Foundation was founded by Oakley CEO Colin Baden, who also serves as the president of the Infinite Hero Foundation. The organization has already donated $1.3 million to date to eight different organizations across the country.
Schumacher said that the deal really came together after a visit to the Oakley headquarters in California late last year.
“We left there looking to put this program together. Terry and I in the car driving back to her airplane in Orange County shook hands and said we were going to split this deal,” said Schumacher. “That is actually what has transpired. There have been some other donations that I have been able to bring in that Infinite Heroes has received already, but that is really how this program has come together.
“We hope to make this an ongoing program for future years. You just never know,” Schumacher said.
Beckman, a United States Air Force veteran and the 2012 NHRA Funny Car champion, said he is honored to support the Infinite Hero Foundation.
“It really boils down to the people I’m sitting up here with just caring,” Beckman said. “It is so rewarding and gratifying to be around people who care enough to step up and do the right thing.”
One of the 2013 IHF grant recipients was the Airpower Foundation. With a $100,000 grant from IHF, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret.) Gary Linfoot was the first military veteran to receive an Ekso suit for personal use. Ekso is a bionic exoskeleton that enables individuals with paralysis to stand and walk again.
Linfoot was on hand Friday at zMAX Dragway for the partnership announcement.
“This is really cutting edge technology,” Linfoot said about the Ekso suit. “It allows someone who suffers from paraplegia like myself to be able to stand up and take steps and I was able to do that for the first time just more than two years ago now.”
The Infinite Hero Foundation plans to donate $1 million to various organizations by Veterans Day (Nov. 11).