Mandan News

Drive to Survive fundraiser race celebrates six yeas

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

It was six years ago that a few drivers decided to paint their cars pink and race for a cause. Not completely knowing where the event would end, the racers just knew that they wanted to Drive to Survive.

The idea for the Drive to Survive race was born out of a brief discussion in 2008, between the track official, Cody Miller, and Wissota Street Stock driver, David Falkenstein. Miller had mentioned how his mother-in-law recently passed away after a fight with breast cancer.

Wanting to find a way to raise funds to help cancer research, Miller suggested that, like other athletes, they should don the color pink and host a fundraiser.

Liking the idea, Falkenstein asked Miller how much he would pay if Falkenstein painted his car pink. Not thinking any of the drivers would actually go through with the task, Miller said he would give $500.

With the foundation of the idea underway, the two men approached the board of directors of the Bismarck-Mandan Stock Car Association to see if Dacotah Speedway would be willing to do a race to fight cancer.

Getting the go ahead, Miller and Falkenstein began approaching various organizations in the area. They eventually got three groups, Woman’s Way, The Bismarck Cancer Center and Susan G. Koman, to get on board for the event.

Beginning with that first $500 donation from Miller, Falkenstein painted his car pink, and decorated it with the logos of American Cancer Society, Bismarck Cancer Center and Women’s Way in the place of sponsors’ logos, in order to compete in the last race of the 2008 season.

With that small act, the Drive to Survive race was born. However, it wouldn’t be until the next season that the first official race would be held.

Getting fired up for the 2009 season, the three cancer organizations were busy selling t-shirts. Once the season ended, each were able to take home $600 in donations.

Since that initial race, the event has continued to grow throughout the years. Last year they were able to raise a total of $8420.

Kickstarting the event off this year is a meet and greet at the Bismarck Cancer Center, which is located at is located at 500 North 8th Street in downtown Bismarck. Beginning at 11 a.m., on Friday, Aug. 22, the event is a chance to meet with the drivers who support this event.

The Drive to Survive race will be hosted on Aug. 22, at 7 p.m.