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Leakey Easily Wins Media Event in Race for Riley - Banner's Driver Laps Most of Field in Runaway Victory
July 30, 2008 - Knightstown businessman Chad Leakey was called upon at the last minute to drive the Knightstown Banner car in the media race portion of the Kroger Race for Riley, presented by Cheerios. The annual event is held at Mark Dismore’s New Castle Motorsports Park at SR 3 and Interstate 70.
Leakey was filling in for The Banner sports editor Ty Swincher and represented the newspaper in the media race last Wednesday. Leakey won the race easily, lapping many cars in the field.
The race was the first time Leakey had driven a go-kart in 30 years.
“I had a kart with good tires and I just drove it hard,” Leakey said. “I had a blast, too!”
The event, a fundraiser for Riley Children’s Hospitals, featured NASCAR driver John Andretti, who participated in all of the races. He has donated his time for the event the last 12 years.
NASCAR fan favorite Tony Stewart, originally from Rushville, was on hand to sign autographs for hundreds of star-struck youngsters and adults alike. WTHR Channel 13’s Dave Calabro, Jeane Coaxley of WISH-TV Channel 8, and Dave Furst of WRTV Channel 6, as well as many other members of the Indianapolis media participated in the race.
The last time Leakey, 37, had driven a go-kart in an actual race was 1979, when he was seven years old. He offered up no secret formula for his success. “The path of least resistance will get you around the track the fastest,” Leakey said. “I just took the outside-in on the corners and kept the kart on the track.”
Leakey started third in the field of 14 karts and immediately moved into second place before the second of many turns on the one-mile track. Midway through the first lap he had taken the lead, and by lap five had already passed several karts, putting them one lap down.
Leakey was never challenged in the race. Just three other cars finished on the lead lap, and second place was more than 20 seconds behind Leakey at the finish. Four cars were lapped once and six more were lapped at least twice.
Joey Cooper, of the Middletown News, brought the crowd to its feet when his cart flipped over on the back end of the track, landing upside-down. He was taken to the hospital and suffered a fractured left arm.
Fastest speed attained during the race by Leakey was 69.136 mph, which means he could have passed some traffic on Interstate 70 that day. But those best speed times posted by Mylaps.com aren’t entirely accurate.
Kroger, General Mills, WIBC, and a complete team of partners were able to surpass the $1 million mark in donations.
Andretti began his involvement with a visit to the Hospital last Monday, when he visited with the children, signed autographs, and handed out goodie bags from Cheerios.
The action on the track featured individuals who had made a $50 donation to Riley Hospital for Children and raced in various heats. The winners then had the opportunity to race against Andretti. Others who made a sponsor donation of $250 automatically raced against Andretti.
All Kroger-owned stores in Indiana are participating in an in-store promotion allowing customers to make donations to Riley Hospital. For every $1 donation, customers receive $4 in coupons good on various General Mills products. The in-store promotion will continue to run through August 2.
(official finish and best speed time provided by mylaps.com)
1. Chad Leakey, Knightstown Banner - *69.136 mph
2. Wheeler, RaceFanRadio - 44.848
3. Vince Welch, ESPN - 43.794
4. Dave Calabro, WTHR Channel 13 - 42.588
5. Dave Furst, WRTV Channel 6 - 40.927
6. Jeremy Hines, New Castle Courier-Times - 39.710
7. Jeane Coaxley, WISH Channel 8 - 40.430
8. Keefer, Greenfield Reporter - 40.054
9. Curt Cavin, Indianapolis Star - 39.959
10. Query, WIBC - 38.900
11. Shane Goad, WMDH Radio - 36.338
12. Hagen, WXIN Channel 59 - 43.128
13. Joey Cooper, Middletown News - 43.259
14. LaFave, New Palestine Press - 00.000
*officials from NCMP said Leakey’s best speed was probably inaccurate due to a malfunction in the equipment.
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