Alana Long 100 Highlights Paddock Camaraderie in Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup
 June 25, 2019| 
  • Series News
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Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (24 June 2019)  This weekend’s Battery Tender ® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires ® Alana Long 100 at Road America proved to be equally as exciting as it was emotional as the Mazda racing family convened at Road America. The event produced some great racing, generated heartfelt memorials and celebrations and also helped to raise funds for causes close to the hearts of many in the series.
 
The on-track content was also outstanding, as 15-year old Robert Noaker scored victory in race one, with Selin Rollan adding to his win tally on the year with victory in race two. 
 
The event was named the Alana Long 100 in celebration of Alana Long, who had an outsized impact on the Mazda Motorsports family, as well as Lemons of Love (lhttp://lemonsoflove.org), before being taken by cancer earlier this year. Long is survived by her sons Chris and Tom, as well as husband Glenn, who runs the Long Road Racing (LRR) organization that builds every Global Mazda MX-5 Cup machine that hits the track. 
 
Strong Impact of Lemons Of Love Showcased at Road America
Drake Kemper and Danny Bender battled for victory at Road America as Kemper led race one on the way to second place, while Bender came home third. What both racers had in common was something special - Kemper and Bender were racing cars that they had won in the yearly raffle held by Lemons of Love (lhttp://lemonsoflove.org).
 
“It was really cool to be racing with Danny with both of us being on different teams, but still representing Lemons of Love,” said Kemper. “I of course was hoping to win but it was not about me this weekend, this is all about celebrating Alana Long and doing well for Lemons of Love.”
 
On Saturday ahead of the race, Lemons Of Love hosted a BBQ for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup family. With a packed house on hand, Lemons Of Love founder Jill Swanson gave a heartfelt talk about her personal experience and how it drove her forward to starting the charity, as well as the key role that Alana Long had in making it a success. 
 
In Long’s honor, Lemons Of Love hosted a fundraiser for chemo care packages at the Lombardi Cancer Center in nearby Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
 
“The whole idea of using a Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car as a way to raise money was Alana’s—and the idea to have those bright yellow roll cages for the Lemons of Love cars was all hers as well!” said Swanson. “It was great that so many in the paddock took some time out of a busy weekend to celebrate Alana and the effect that she still has on all of us.”
 
Danny Bender and his father Mitchell Bender also both spoke at the event, having lost their mom as well as three other close friends in the past year to cancer. 
 
The drivers all signed cards to go along with a special delivery of Lemons of Love Chemo Care Packages that went to patients at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center in Sheboygan after the event weekend. 
 
List Family Gives Dare To Dream Award to Nick’s Dog Treats Founder
 
Saturday also saw a special presentation being made by the List family as they presented young Nick Napolitano with the Dare To Dream Award.  
 
Napolitano was born prematurely, resulting in a diagnosis of quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Now in high school and looking to help others with this same challenge, many of whom have a hard time finding employment, Napolitano started Nick’s Dog Treats (https://www.gofundme.com/nicksdogtreats) to take a bite out of that unemployment number. Nick's Dog Treats provide high-quality dog treats, made in small batches to ensure freshness.
 
Andrew List’s D2D Motorsports Global Mazda MX-5 Cup machine carried Nick’s Dog Treats branding on the car, with the List family organizing the special award that was hosted at the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup hospitality area on Saturday. 
 
“Nick has been such an inspiration and we were really motivated to surprise him with this award,” said Jim List. “Hopefully we can help him achieve his dream of opening his bakery and helping to employ others with disabilities. We are grateful that the Global MX-5 Cup series was kind enough to host this for us. As a dad, I was proud of the effort that Andrew (List) put into this and I know that Nick was really touched by getting the award.”
 
With six races in the books and six to go before the 2019 Champion is crowned at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the fight for the $200,000 scholarship for the winner is once again far from over. Kemper leads the championship, but by a scant three points over Rollan.
 
“It is always special to race at Road America, but I have to say that between the show the drivers put on this weekend, everything that went into celebrating Alana Long and her memory and having the Lemons of Love cars race so strongly, this is one that none of us will forget,” said Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan. “It was a testament to how much of a family there is here, and it was very special to be a part of it.”
Next up for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup field will be a return to Mid-Ohio as part of the NTT IndyCar event weekend. 

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