Tuesday November 8, 2016 – Grand Rapids, MI

Does your child or one you know, have dreams of being racing’s next superstar? Has your child or one you know, overcome illness or injury through the care of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital?  If you answered yes to both, we want to hear from you! announced today, the addition of a fourth car for the 2017 season at the Berlin Raceway.  The fourth RA car will be a Mini Wedge to be driven by a child, selected by, that has an affiliation to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital.  The entire RA family is thrilled about this new addition to the team, and looks forward to welcoming this young boy or girl and their family.    

The Mini Wedge division (Mini Wedge Racing) is a new addition to the Berlin Raceway line up in 2017, racing on a portion of the front stretch in front of the main grandstands. RA will be providing, at minimum, a brand new Mini Wedge race car and trailer to the driver and their family.   Mini Wedge racing does not require a Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief or crew, just a child that wants to race and a parent or guardian that is dedicated to supporting the pursuit of their child’s dream.  

The racing window of opportunity is now open! is now accepting applications through Friday November 25 at noon EST, for young people interested in driving the RA 97L Mini Wedge in 2017.  

Interested parties, please send an email to and include the following mandatory pieces of information.  

Parent / Guardian’s information:

  • First and last name
  • Primary phone number
  • Primary email address
  • Hometown

Child’s Information

  • First and last name;
  • Birthdate;
  • Grade for the 2016-17 school year;
  • Provide detail on any motorized experience, please be as specific as possible;
  • Please provide a brief description of the child’s affiliation to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital;

Additional Information:  

  • Learn more about what to expect by visiting Mini Wedge Racing
  • Child must have an affiliation to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
  • Child must be between the age of 6 to 12 years old
  • Motorized experience; dirtbikes, ATV, go carts, helpful but not required.
  • Mini Wedge and trailer are the proerity of
  • Safety gear, helmet and suit provided by the driver and family  
  • Car maintained by the driver and family
  • 2017 Berlin Raceway schedule has not yet been released.  

A Day to Remember – For all of us!

Saturday was a day we will all remember, not for what anyone did, but for who we met!

A letter from Rhyse’s mom …
Thank you Heather, for allowing us to share time with your son and family.

We don’t know what to say, or how to say it.  I hope our faces-at least in part–spoke of our gratitude for your organization and for your kindness towards total strangers. The past four years have been the hardest years of our lives.  Fraught with constant illnesses, accumulating diagnoses, cancer scares, debilitating malnutrition, and health care split between two different health systems our lives have been forever changed. We have learned to live differently, love differently, and hold on a little tighter to each moment.

In the first three and a half years there were no outings, no mom and dad dates, no trips to the beach, just living in the moment–from crisis to crisis and hospitalization to hospitalization.  The past 12 months have not been easy either, with winter virus’s constantly beating his little body down, and fighting a never ending battle against weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration, despite his feeding tube.

Behind Rhyse’s cute, little smile and fire engine red hair is a fragile, medically complex little man. Rhyse was born with Noonan Syndrome. A syndrome that affects every single cell in his body, to differing degrees.  From oral aversion/dysphagia he is unable to eat anything beyond a cracker or bread so he is tube fed.  With hypotonia (poor muscle tone) he is unable to do much of what a four year, nearly five year old can do: dress and undress himself, carry anything over a pound, open and close things, snap snaps, take his shoes on or off, etc.  With ulcerative colitis he is unable to be potty trained at this time, and endures 4 hour infusions every six weeks to suppress an already broken immune system opening him up to every virus and bacteria that passes by. He has slings in his eyelids (ptosis) to hold them above his pupils.  At night he wears a body brace in a hopeful attempt at straightening his curvy spine, all the while being attached to his feeding pump.  A wicked combination that makes every single night a battle against tangled feeding tube lines and a brace that restricts his movement. And the list goes on.

Every day childhood illnesses put kids like Rhyse in the hospital. And the fear and anxiety we as a family have faced, and still live with, goes well beyond words—and yet we have joy because he is joy!  And it truly is the little things that mean the most to all of us.

In Rhyse’s world anything on four wheels is heaven on earth! For every appointment, hospitalization or procedure a carefully chosen vehicle goes with him.  He lives and breathes cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles with engines that always need fixing and whose tires go flat–and tow trucks that save the day!  Since he was very little we have always said, “he must have a car gene in there somewhere!” So, as you can imagine, treating him and his family to a night at the raceway was the penultimate gift to him and us.  When he suffers we suffer, and when he has joy, we have joy!

Again, on behalf of my family, and the entire Noonan Syndrome family around the world, THANK YOU Jeff Striegle, Dave Lake, Lisa Davan, Erika Welch and the rest of the team for your kindness, humanness, autographs, invitation to victory lane, ride in the pace truck, and the most mind blowing, gifting the trophy to Rhyse!!!! What an amazing token of unselfishness that he will remember for the rest of his life!

 “ and Racing Awareness Inc. are two separate entities that were created with the sole intent of providing children and their families from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, of West Michigan, who are experiencing or have experienced an illness or injury of a child, a diversion from the healthcare process utilizing the sport of auto racing”. You can read all about the team, and the little boy who inspired the formation of Racing and Racing Awareness Inc. on their site.

Batman Returns To The Berlin Raceway!

Super Heros on a Super Night

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Friday, June 24 update to this post – Fireworks have been added!  See you there

For the third year in a row, BATMAN RETURNS to the Berlin Raceway, but this time the Caped Crusader will be bringing 16 friends to join in this celebration of kids!

Saturday Night, June 25th, it’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital night at the track, presented by (a 501c3 nonprofit). See the three HDVCH cars in action, meet the drivers and experience the excitement of auto racing at one of the country’s best family friendly facilities.

Kids young and old will enjoy Spiderman, Wonder Women, Super Man and, making their first ever Berlin Raceway appearance, the Ninja Turtles! Super Heros will be ready for photos, fun and games from 5 to 8p and join the drivers during the scheduled autograph session.

Family and staff associated with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital can pick up free tickets to the event inside the library while supplies last, courtesy of

All kids 11 and under receive FREE admission – first 250 receive a FREE hot dog and Craig’s Cruisers activity. Racing includes, Super Late Models, Modifieds, Sportsman and 4-cylinders.  Adult tickets $12 Gates open at 3p is a 100% volunteer, West Michigan 501c3 nonprofit charity formed in 2010. To date RA has raised just shy of $300,000 in support of HDVCH. Financially, we support NMTRC, The Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium under the direction of Dr. Giselle Sholler MD MSC Chair, through the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. See more NMTRC on how Dr. Giselle is leading the way, worldwide, in the fight against this life threatening illness.

Scheduled to appear, Bat Man, Bat Girl, Super Man, Spider Man, Spider Women, Wonder Women, Black Widow, The Hulk, Flash, Justice, Super Girl, Pink Power Ranger, Captain America and the Ninja Turtles.

Charity Golf Outing Set for September / Thousand Oaks Golf Club

Monday September 12, 2016
What:    7th Annual Charity Golf Outing presented by Festida Foods and Vanderhyde Ford 

Where:    Thousand Oaks Golf Course

The marquee event of the year, held at the beautiful Thousand Oaks Golf Club in Grand Rapids. The outing has been a complete sellout each of the prior six years so don’t delay in getting your foursome registered. For  information and/or to register, contact us at
Depositphotos_6608960_original.jpg charity golf outing proceeds support The Neuroblastoma and         Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium under the direction of Dr. Giselle Sholler MD MSC Chair, through the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. See more at  NMTRC is a 100% volunteer 501c3 nonprofit charity. All financial partnerships are charitable donations

Cost: $700 per foursome
Cost includes, golf, cart, lunch, happy hour, dinner,  auction and more.

Get involved in West Michigan and the health of our children by becoming a Team RA Charity Partner:

Recognition as key sponsor on all promotions materials including but limited to:
• Headline inclusion on all golf outing invitations, facebook and website messaging
• Two (2) complimentary foursomes
• One on course and clubhouse entrance signage 4’ by 8’
• Tee sign sponsor with location preference
• Recognition on Champions Trophy Display
• Recognition and signage / Clubhouse / Dinner
• Company sponsorship gift

• Recognition on all golf outing invitations, facebook and website messaging
• One complimentary foursome
• Tee sign sponsor of hole with location preference
• Recognition as lunch or appetizer sponsor
• Recognition on Champions Trophy Display
• Company sponsorship gift

• One complimentary foursome
• Tee sign sponsor of hole
• Recognition on Chairman’s Round-table Display

• One complimentary foursome
• Tee sign sponsor of hole

Choose one of the following sponsorship’s:
• Tee sign sponsor of hole, with a booth at the tee
• Longest Drive Sponsor
• Longest Putt Sponsor
• Closest to the Pin Sponsor
• Putting Green Sponsor
• Beverage Cart Sponsor

• Tee sign sponsor of hole


Lake Wins Modified Season Opener


Dave Lake made a long awaited return to Victory Lane on Saturday, April 16, 2016 in the Berlin Raceway season opening modified feature, driving the RA 97L.  Lake passed Blake Rowe, 9 laps into the race, and then held off the hard charging Bill Eppink to claim the victory.  Dave’s win was his 45th career feature victory.  In 2011, Lake won 7 times, in the RA modified, in route to the modified championship.

Ride along with Dave Lake, April 16, 2016, in the 97L modified at the Berlin Raceway.



ICEBREAKER Berlin Raceway


April 16, 2016

The season is almost here and we want you to experience it in style! Berlin is offering an Ice Breaker Experience for April 16. This experience allows you and 9 of your family members and friends to watch the races from the private Berlin Party Deck, provides you with a meal coupon for the buffet on the deck and gives you the personal experience of meeting some of Berlin’s own drivers during a meet and greet session on the deck before the races start! Purchase your experience now for just $100. This is limited to the first 12 groups of 10, so book yours now – BOOK NOW

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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND Bring A Family To The Races, 2017 – Presented by

Up to 10 people each week the RA cars are on the track!! 

March 1, 2017: We are excited to announce that the “Bring A Family To The Races” promotion is back for 2017.  Last year, e6bbe4-blog12b7-10-20162b4-55-362bamvery date was filled with a deserving family and treated to a night at the track. Don’t delay, dates will go quick.

Everyone knows a family that needs a getaway from their everyday routine; an opportunity for an evening together of fun, laughter, and for making new memories. In 2017, will make that opportunity available to families with an evening at the Berlin Raceway.

Each week that the cars are on the track (RA schedule) at the Berlin Raceway, one family will experience the sights and sounds of short track racing and be a part of the action. This package includes complimentary general admission, hot dogs and a beverage for up to 10 people.  Plus, the RA team will add some special surprises along the way.  One package will be presented on each RA race Saturday in 2017.IMG_7372

While this opportunity is open to all, special consideration will be given to those families that have experienced hardship due to the illness or injury of a child.

Are you, or do you know of a family that is ready to spend an evening together making new memories?  If so, please contact!  Opportunities are limited so don’t delay.  Submit your request today.  If selected, an RA representative will contact you directly using the contact information provided below.

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Auto Show Big Hit Again

Auto Show Big Hit Again

The 2016 West Michigan International Auto Show lived up to the hype again this year with record breaking crowds and a peek at what’s new in the automobile industry. For the seventh year in a row,, was an invited guest, given the opportunity to raise funds for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and debut the RA race cars.

Thank you to all that stopped for a visit, drive the racing simulator, sign the hood, purchase the latest in RA apparel or watch the cars come to life.

Special thanks to:
The RA volunteers
Horvath Design – detailing the cars
Berlin Raceway – racing simulator
The Screen Print Dept – 2016 RA apparel

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Racing Awareness’ Ben Welch Racing Super Lates in 2016

Grand Rapids, MI (October 20, 2015) – announced today that its 17 year old driver, Ben Welch, would drive one the team’s two Super Lates in 2016. Welch, a senior at Coopersville High School, will run the full super late schedule at the Berlin Raceway contending for Rookie of the Year honors in the upcoming season. Welch has driven the past two years for RA in the team’s 97L Modified, where he captured four feature wins and the 2015 Track Championship.

Ben has been on the fast track since age 7 when he first jumped in the seat of a go-kart and has been racing ever since. Following success at a young age, turning right and left on area kart tracks, in 2010, Mike Welch, Ben’s dad, decided to try Ben at Winston Speedway on the dirt oval. The experiment proved successful, as he claimed his first ever feature win in a full-body stock car!

Ben first caught the eye of Racing Awareness co-owner Jeff Striegle in 2012, when Ben, then age 14, moved to Berlin and was driving a modified for a different team. “Ben started alongside our car on the restart. I thought we would just run away from him, but that kid hung with us for several laps and raced us very clean. I knew who he was before that but wanted to know more about him after that”. Two years later Ben was driving for; winning a feature in his very first start.

In 2016, Ben will begin a new chapter in his racing career by competing full time in the highly competitive super late model series at Berlin. Ben ran four times in the JEGS / CRA All-Star Tour in 2015 (a traveling crate motor super late series) and in addition to his commitment to Berlin, plans to do a limited schedule with the family owned car again in 2016. “We are going to try and race as much as we can”. Welch said about his upcoming plans “I want as much seat time as I can get. I enjoy the JEGS Series a lot but my focus will be on Berlin and trying to improve each week”.

Striegle thinks Ben’s weekly progression should be rapid and noticeable. “This is a young man with a lot of natural talent. He’s great athlete, and has all the characteristics necessary to be a great race car driver”. In addition to auto racing, during his high school career, Ben competed with the basketball team and most recently on the Coopersville Men’s tennis team in the #1 Doubles. Welch and partner Caleb Wiegerink, closed out their high school tennis careers by finishing 3rd in their conference. Both Welch and Wiegerink were voted to the OK Blue All Conference team by the conference coaches in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Ben, while attending school, is also employed at Van Doorn Racing Development. “We are proud to be partnered with VRD and having Ben there is added bonus. The unique thing for him is he is learning both on and off the track, something that will be key to his growth and on track success”, stated Racing Awareness co-owner, Norm Jelsma.

Look for Ben Welch in the RA 67L super late when the season opens at the Berlin Raceway in April of 2016. will campaign three cars in 2016, including Ben and Dave Lake who will be driving the 97L Modified. RA will make its third and final driver announcement regarding the team’s second super late by the end of October.

Look for the entire RA team of drivers and volunteers at the Michigan International Auto Show, January 28 – 31, 2016, at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.To be a part of, supporting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital as a volunteer or team partner/sponsor, contact us via email at