The seventh annual Big O Tires presents the Don Schumacher Racing Open House on Friday afternoon proved to be heavenly for benefactor Riley Hospital for Children.
The event featured a car show, motorsports art show, autograph session with DSR racing's seven professional NHRA drivers and tours of the spacious DSR speed factory near Indianapolis.
But the biggest star of the five-hour, fun-filled event was the annual silent auction in which DSR's sponsors and loyal NHRA drag racing fans raised the bulk of $25,000 generated Friday that pushed the total contributed by DSR events to Riley Hospital to over $200,000.
"To reach $200,000 is a milestone," said Mike Lewis, DSR senior vice president. "Our turnout of about 4,000 to 5,000 fans was our biggest crowd, the car show was the biggest we've ever had and we raised more money in one day than ever before.
"I can sum it up with two words: best ever."
Team owner Don Schumacher spent the day at the Open House smiling like he had just won another world championship.
"This is wonderful," he said of the day. "It makes what our staff and sponsors did here today so special. We have wonderful sponsors who support our Open House each year, but it comes down to these great NHRA drag racing fans that helped us help a great organization like Riley Hospital."
Money raised at the event, which was free to the public, goes to the Riley Children's Foundation that supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Riley Hospital has served as Indiana's only comprehensive
children's hospital since 1924.
The Open House is held annually in conjunction with the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.
"Mike Lewis is the person responsible for getting DSR involved with Riley, and it has been just a great, great partnership," Schumacher said.
Lewis was beaming about the successful day.
"It is always a special day for everyone in the DSR family when we can help the beautiful children at Riley," Lewis said.
"I've been in this community for over 17 years, and I've seen what Riley Hospital does; Riley makes miracles happen, they save the lives of young people.
"We had a gentleman at the Open House who is 57 years old , and 53 years ago he was treated by Riley and was not expected to live. Our chef at DSR, Malcolm Clark, is a Riley Kid who has grown up to be a successful chef, a good husband and good human being.
"I couldn't think of a better charity for DSR to work with than Riley Hospital."
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