Kalitta Motorsports, OPTIMA Batteries and the Golden State Foods Foundation have partnered to support children through the charitable Build-A-Bike program.
Together, the three organizations aim to instill the same passion for customization among children across America by providing them with an opportunity to build and customize their own bicycle next to Kalitta Motorsports team members, while giving them a memorable and positive experience.
This charitable element integrated with the OPTIMA Batteries Top Fuel dragster team will work to leave a lasting, positive impact in select communities where Kalitta Motorsports competes in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, beginning in late May during the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.
Forty children from a local Boys and Girls Club came to the race track May 28, to build their own bike with the assistance of Kalitta Motorsports’ pit crew mechanics.
A bike represents freedom, control and responsibility. The Build-A-Bike program can both instill these values and provide opportunity for individual growth and reward. A bike can help a child develop his or her sense of self-reliance, risk and reward, adventure, strength and character. The program also teaches goal setting and more importantly, the value of hard work to achieve those goals.
“When I was a kid growing up in Australia, I first started learning about tools and tinkering with things with my first bicycle,” said David Grubnic, driver of the OPTIMA Batteries Top Fuel dragster. “That is absolutely what eventually led to my interest in hot rods, racing and to becoming a Top Fuel dragster driver for Kalitta Motorsports and OPTIMA Batteries.”
Although this is their first foray into activation in the NHRA, Golden State Foods Foundation and OPTIMA Batteries have already helped more than 1,000 children build their own bikes.
“As a kid, the first vehicle I can remember taking pride in and customizing was my bike,” said Cam Douglas, director of product development and marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “I think a lot of folks in the automotive enthusiast community feel the same way and they can remember what it was like to add new chrome cranks or pegs, put on decals or install a new seat. It’s where we first started to discover our passion for the industry.”
(Photos by Todd Myers, courtesy Kalitta Motorsports; Click to enlarge)