Pink power: Local racer scores a victory in breast cancer fight

by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent


T.J. LUEDKE of Plymouth has donated all of the winnings he accumulated with his neon pink 360 sprint car during the 2013 racing season at Sheboygan County Fair Park in Plymouth and the Manitowoc Expo Speedway in Manitowoc to the Pink Party Breast Cancer Foundation. Luedke earned $11,635.50 in his 2013 racing efforts, all of which was donated to the Pink Party cause. — Review file photo by Verla Peichl T.J. LUEDKE of Plymouth has donated all of the winnings he accumulated with his neon pink 360 sprint car during the 2013 racing season at Sheboygan County Fair Park in Plymouth and the Manitowoc Expo Speedway in Manitowoc to the Pink Party Breast Cancer Foundation. Luedke earned $11,635.50 in his 2013 racing efforts, all of which was donated to the Pink Party cause. — Review file photo by Verla Peichl October is breast cancer awareness month.

This is the month where the wearing of pink displays our concerns and outreach in finding a cure for the disease and alerting women to take the time to do the proper exams for early detection.

Sports players wear pink socks and/or pink shoes and at the end of the month things go back to normal.

However, for T.J. Luedke of Plymouth, displaying the color pink and supporting breast cancer awareness started six months ago in April.

He didn’t wear pink socks or shoes but he did race a neon pink 360 sprint car around the area dirt tracks.

The purpose? To raise money for the Pink Party Breast Cancer Foundation.

The total raised? $11,635.50.

“I would just like to thank the fans and my crew for making it a successful season,” said Luedke. “It all started in April at our fundraiser brat fry and that helped to get the racing season started, as well as all of my sponsors.”

The idea for raising money for breast cancer awareness was precipitated when Luedke began joking around with a friend from G. Schneider Electric in Kiel about being a sponsor for his race car.

He wanted to be able to pick the color, so Luedke told him that would be okay as long as he didn’t pick the color green.

When the chosen color turned out to be pink, Luedke started thinking in the bigger picture.

What followed was a racing season filled with the hope of raising $10,000 for the Pink Party Breast Cancer Foundation.

“I knew the idea was a good idea,” Luedke said. “I did have some concerns about going broke, but I wanted to donate the winnings to a good cause.

“There was some concern with going week to week without using the race winnings,” continued Luedke, “Because I knew what I needed for the race season and we were about $4,000 short from what we had decided when we started.”

The monetary total does reflect, however, that the T.J. Motorsports team was able to make it all work to achieve the goal Luedke and his team had been shooting for.

“As a driver I think this gave me a little more incentive to pick up every spot possible out on the track,” said Luedke, “Especially due to the number of rainouts we had.

“I knew that on a nightly average I had to finish seventh or better,” said Luedke, “I actually finished closer to fourth on average and I had four feature wins that really helped out. This cause gave everybody a renewed focus that the cause was a lot more than racing/ Everybody got more involved.”

Support for Luedke’s fundraising effort was strong throughout the season.

“The feedback from the fans was huge,” exclaimed Luedke. “The pink die cast cars were bought at the tracks and I signed them and the pictures too. I heard a lot of personal stories on how breast cancer had affected their family and their lives.

”People shared their memories with us and this was definitely fun to do,” he said. “I not only enjoyed it, but I kept the car in one piece and that that helped a lot too.”

Looking back on the 2013 season. Luedke is very satisfied with the team’s accomplishments.

“Racing is more than a race car,” said Luedke. “It’s dedication and commitment and this commitment made us all more dedicated.”

To learn more about Luedke and his future plans, check in on his facebook page at TJMotorsports for news on the 2014 season.


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