Several race cars and their drivers turned out Saturday afternoon at the Circle K on CC Camp Road in Elkin to help raise money for Kira Bray and her family.
Kira, now 6, was in a car accident January 26 and is paralyzed from the neck down as a result. The money raised will help the family pay for an upcoming visit to the Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia .
The cars, many of them adorned with “Racing for Kira” on their cars, and the drivers, some wearing pink “Racing for Kira” t-shirts, were a major part of Saturday’s activities. There was a also a dunking booth, a llama in a straw hat, a balloon pop, raffles, and a football toss in the parking area behind the store.
Joel Bray, Kira’s father, drove at Friendship Motor Speedway until the accident and the racing community has been doing its part to raise money for the family.
Donna Anen, wife of driver George Anen, pulled Saturday’s activities together. Donna works at Circle K.
“I’m thankful the community’s out here to support the Brays,” George said. “We’re getting some good donations. It’s just a nice thing to do.”
Several of those who dropped by for gas or soda found a mini-carnival on a hot day to hard to pass up.
“Maybe we’ll get some new people interested in racing,” George said.
Michael Harrell, who won the Renegades feature at Roaring Thunder Speedway in Ararat, Virginia Friday night, was one of the drivers on hand with his car.
“I’ve known Joel for years,” Harrell said. “His dad; his brother. They’re a good bunch of people. I’m sure if the tables were turned, they’d be helping whoever they could help.”
Friendship regular Jeff Parsons said much the same. “I’ve been half-sick all week,” Parsons said. “But Joel would have been here if it was a benefit for me or my family.”
Parsons said he and Joel raced each other hard.
“We were always into it,” Parsons said. “But we were good friends off the track.”
Driver Kevin Gwyn was also on hand Saturday.
“We’ve raced together for a lot of years,” Gwyn said of Joel. “Since the late 90s.”
Gwyn, too had his battles with Joel. “We beat and we banged,” he said. “We became friends eventually.”
Gwyn said it was “good to see the racing community coming together.”
Kayla Harrell donated the hood of the 2013 car she ran at Friendship for an auction. The winner was Jake Luffman, the son of Angie and Johnny Luffman.
“I get to help out for a good cause,” Kayla said.
The event had special meaning for Joe Tharpe, a former driver at Friendship, who brought his family to the Circle K. His daughter, Autumn, is the same age as Kira.
“I grew up watching him race,” Tharpe said. “He’s my brother’s favorite driver.”
“They’ve really helped out with everything,” Kira’s grandfather, Robert Bray, said. “I want to thank all the race car drivers for showing their support for her.”
For additional details about upcoming fundraisers supporting Kira Bray, contact Regina Adkins at 336-466-1458 or Stephanie Hollbrook at 336-452-9320. A Facebook page also has been set up where friends and supporters can share information regarding the upcoming fundraisers for Kira. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Upcoming-fundraising-events-for-Bray-Family/403014276501589.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or Twitter @elkinareasports.