Whelen Racing And Danville D'elegance (DDE) Foundation Partner To Offer "Join The GRAND-AM VIP Experience" Charity Auction Package On eBay

Auction Winner Will Feel Like a Team Owner for a GRAND-AM Weekend and All Proceeds Will Support Parkinson's Research and Patient Care

Jul 25, 2012, 06:21 ET from Danville d’Elegance Foundation

DANVILLE, Calif., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ever wonder how it feels to own a GRAND-AM racing team -- or better yet, to feel the camaraderie and excitement as a member of a Rolex GT Sports Car team? Now you can get a "behind-the-scenes" look at GRAND-AM racing at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with the Whelen/Marsh GT ("Grand Touring") and SunTrust DP ("Daytona Prototype") teams – and at the same time, support Parkinson's research and patient care.

Veteran racer and team owner Sonny Whelen is offering an online charity auction package to "join" his GRAND-AM Team for an experience of a lifetime (July 24thAugust 3rd on eBay) that will provide the highest bidder with a full weekend of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series racing team involvement. 

This  rare package will be a complete two-day experience with elements ranging from a private dinner with the team principle and drivers (Boris Said/Eric Curran), private meetings with drivers and technical advisors to pit qualifying and racing – all with complete VIP access. If either team wins you will be in the Winner's Circle for photos with the car and drivers!  And, 100% of the proceeds from the auction will support Parkinson's Research and Patient Care. 

Whelen has been competing on the racing circuit for more than a dozen years (including the Pirelli World Challenge and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series), but it's only the last five years that he has faced a more personal challenge – Parkinson's disease.   As a member of the Board of Directors for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and TEAMFOX, Whelen has been winning in driving awareness and funds for Parkinson's and he's aiming to pass the finish line. He is also executive vice president of CT-based Whelen Engineering Co, Inc., a co-sponsor of his racing team.

"Through our exposure in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, we have an opportunity to share our passion with an important cause," said Whelen.  "Both Parkinson's and racing have become a significant part of my life, and by getting our fans throughout America involved in both, we can make an impact."

The auction is a partnership fundraising outreach teaming the Danville d'Elegance Foundation (DDE), Whelen /Marsh Racing (GT), Wayne Taylor's SunTrust Racing (DP) with Toshiba Motorsports, all collectively raising funds for the globally renowned Michael J. Fox Foundation. The two-day race package will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and be held the weekend of September 8-9, 2012.

In addition to the "Join the GRAND-AM VIP Experience" auction winners' participation with Whelen Racing,  Toshiba Motorsports will be contributing access to the Wayne Taylor SunTrust Racing (DP) team, including driver "meet and greet" with Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli; technical tour of vehicle transporter with Warren Scheckter; as well as a private meeting with GRAND-AM officials.

For a complete listing of the "Join the GRAND-AM VIP Experience" charity package or to place your bid, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/160851944707   Further information can be found, and additional donations can be made, at www.danville-delegance.org, along with a photo link at: http://www.danville-delegance.org/media.aspx?pr=6 .    

The Whelen Racing Team
Eric Curran and Boris Said co-drive the #31 Chevrolet Corvette C6 for Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.  Both drivers have been racing professionally since the early 1990s – in that timeframe, Eric Curran has qualified on the pole 20 times, won 24 races, finished on the podium 64 times and 132 times in the top 10; Boris Said began his NASCAR career in 1995 and has competed across North America and Europe in a variety of classes and racecars for more than 20 years.  His first NASCAR victory was in 2003.  Both Curran and Said are joining Whelen to make the "Join the Team" package a success.

Supporting Parkinson's
Immediately following the GRAND-AM weekend at Laguna Seca, Whelen and his team will continue to highlight their involvement with Parkinson's Research.  On Sunday, September 16, 2012, the Whelen/Marsh Corvette, and its transporter, will have a display at the 8th Annual Danville Concours d'Elegance on the historic streets of Danville, Calif., and its co-drivers Eric Curran and Boris Said will also be on site and available for both interviews and autographs.  Additional autographed team clothing and accessories will be donated for auction items at DDE's dinner /auction at the Blackhawk Automobile Museum on the evening of September 15th.

The annual Danville program includes a weekend of automotive charitable events raising both funds and awareness for Parkinson's with proceeds split between the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Parkinson's Institute and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  Since the Foundations' inception in 2004, and together with its more than 200 volunteers, DDE has contributed more than $1.3 million to support Parkinson's research and patient care.  For more information, view www.danville-delegance.org

About Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing

Sonny Whelen began racing a dozen years ago, competing within the NARRA; the Pirelli World Challenge; and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series.  As a Pro-driver, NASCAR series partner and GRAND-AM team sponsor, he has won two national championships in the NARRA USGT, as well as finishing regularly in the top 10-15 in SCCA Pro Racing Series since 2005.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease six years ago, Whelen has continued his racing program, while becoming increasingly involved in the Michael J. Fox Foundation, where he serves as a member of its Board of Directors.  Earlier this month, Whelen announced he will be retiring from racing, and will now continue to sponsor his team and create programs to raise money to fund Parkinson's research.

Whelen Engineering is the largest manufacturer and world leader in emergency warning systems.  Founded in 1953, Whelen designs and builds light bars and sirens for police, fire and emergency vehicles as well as anti-collision beacons for airplanes.   Two manufacturing facilities totaling more than 586,000 square feet and 1100 employees assure that Whelen can stand by its claim to be the only company in the industry to manufacture every product it makes in the United States.  For more information please visit www.whelen.com

Marsh Racing is a Connecticut based team owned by Ted Marsh and sponsored by Whelen Engineering Co.  The team is currently competing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series with drivers Eric Curran and Boris Said, and the NARRA US GT Championship with Whelen's son George.

About Wayne Taylor/SunTrust Racing

Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), founded in November 2006 and headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. is the flagship effort for SunTrust Racing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Owned by three-time sports car champion and two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Wayne Taylor, the team campaigns the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Daytona Prototype for fulltime co-drivers Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor. For more information, please visit www.waynetaylorracing.com

About Danville d'Elegance Foundation

Danville d'Elegance Foundation is dedicated to supporting organizations in their pursuit to find a cure for Parkinson's disease, while specifically raising funds to benefit the advancement of Parkinson's research and patient care.  Since 2004, and through the generous support of corporate and personal sponsors, the Foundation has raised in excess of $1.3 million for this debilitating cause.  All of the annual weekend activities for Danville d'Elegance are planned, supported and completely run by a team of volunteers, a majority whose lives have been touched by Parkinson's disease.  The Foundation's funding efforts are aligned with both The Michael J. Fox Foundation and The Parkinson's Institute.

For more information, please visit www.danville-delegance.org

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research 

As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $250 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new, returning and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki.

To learn more, visit www.michaeljfox.org or www.facebook.org/michaeljfoxfoundation

Contact: Deb Pollack 805-320-9248
Paul Frost, Toshiba Motorsports

SOURCE Danville d’Elegance Foundation