Peggy Coleman could declare Vincent Nobile as her knight in shining armor. He sure looked like one on last Saturday afternoon.
Nobile drove his way to the K&N Filters Showdown championship by defeating Jason Line and in the process won a brand new Toyota Tundra pick-up truck for Coleman.
Coleman was one of eight finalists, who as part of the competition, drew Nobile's name and because he won, she did too.
Coleman, of Joplin, Mo., was just happy to participate after the year of misfortune she's just experienced. Her house was one of many destroyed in the tornadoes which struck the town located in the southwest corner of the state.
“As I told the other contestants, even if we hadn’t won the Toyota, it was great just to be able to get away from everything we’d been dealing with at home for a little while,” said Coleman. “For the most part, everyone in our town shares our positive attitude and over the last year help has poured in from all over the country, which has been amazing. So to be selected as one of the eight finalists and flown to Norwalk for the weekend put a big smile on our faces, and winning that beautiful pickup was just an added benefit that I could not believe. We had an awesome time all weekend with everyone being so nice.”
Coleman entered the K&N Sweepstakes when her husband Gary's pick-up was demolished in the storm, never thinking she would actually be the one to win the new Toyota. In fact, when called about being selected as one the finalists, she was somewhat skeptical.
Once she was paired with Nobile her skepticism was replaced with optimism, almost immediately.
“When I met Vincent and saw his team color was purple I was thrilled because that’s my favorite color. He was so humble and polite, and his entire family and team were so very nice. After the first round I heard someone call my name and it was Vincent’s mother, who gave me a big hug and told me he was going to win the race for me.
“Every time I saw him, I kept telling Vincent he was going to do it, and even after he won on Saturday, I told him he was going to win again on Sunday and he did. From here on out, I’ll be sure to watch the NHRA races on TV and root for Vincent to keep on winning. On top of everything else that happened during the weekend, when Caitlin from K&N called me on Monday after the race and told me about everyone offering to pay the (purchase) taxes, it just brought tears to my eyes all over again. It was just like a wonderful dream, and I want to thank everyone at K&N for making it so special.”
Nobile knew even though this was his first time competing in the race-within-a-race he had to deliver, no matter how overwhelming the odds were against him.
“After I heard Peggy’s story, the money didn’t matter, the trophy didn’t matter – all I wanted to do was win for her, and I’m so glad I did,” said Nobile, driver of the MountainView Tire Dodge Avenger who also won the race on Sunday, collecting a $25,000 “double-up” bonus from the NHRA in the process. “She lost almost everything last year in the tornados, so to be able to win that Toyota Tundra for her was absolutely awesome.
“I knew she was someone special from the moment I met her on Friday, and when I heard her story, it really touched me. Even though I knew I had to win for her, I didn’t feel any extra pressure - it actually made things easier for me. I’m so happy we were able to deliver for her, and want to thank the Mitsos family, my father and my entire MountainView Dodge team for giving me such a great car to drive.
Nobile wasn't the only one to deliver as members of the racing community pitched in to pay any taxes pertaining to their winning the truck. After acknowledging the teams’ generosity, the Toyota Motor Company added to their already substantial contribution by including the cost of the tariffs, assuring the Colemans would not have to pay anything for their new custom pickup.
“K&N’s involvement with the Horsepower Challenge has been a tremendous experience, but the circumstances surrounding this year’s event stand above the rest,” said Caitlin Clement, Series and Track Support Manager for K&N Engineering. “We want to commend all eight drivers for putting on a great show under very difficult weather conditions and congratulate Vincent Nobile on his exciting win.
“We are also thrilled to be able to present Peggy Coleman with her new K&N Horsepower Challenge Edition Toyota Tundra. Her story of survival is just amazing, and we hope this new truck helps in some small way with her recovery efforts. We appreciate all the teams who inquired about paying the Colemans’ (auto) taxes, and are grateful to Toyota for volunteering to cover the costs involved. All in all, the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge was a tremendous event, and we are already working to make next year’s edition even better.”
For Coleman, she wonders how it could be even better than what she experienced.
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