On Monday, June 8, despite a number of obstacles, not the smallest of which was a global pandemic, a group of drivers spent eight hours speeding around Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. Along the way they helped to raise more than $50,000 for the ALS Therapy Development Institute’s (ALS TDI) research to find effective treatments for ALS.
Dave’s Race 2020, presented by Racing for ALS, may have occurred under very different circumstances than last year’s first iteration of the event, but it was still a resounding success as well as a fun and meaningful day for those who were able to participate. This year the high-performance driving event, held in honor of David Lloyd, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, had to make many adjustments to adhere to restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even a few weeks before the cars lined up and revved their engines, it wasn’t entirely clear that the event would be able to move forward.
“It was going to happen and then it wasn't going to happen,” says David’s brother and event organizer Scott Lloyd, “And then it looked like COVID was going to keep Virginia closed until the 10th of June and our race was on the 8th. We could have a photographer, then we couldn’t have a photographer. Then we could have 30 people. It was just, honestly, crazy. But I'm grateful that we fought through and we were able to move forward. We've got some really dedicated people that support us.”
After all the uncertainty and changing restrictions, Scott and the rest of the race organizers and sponsors, with the help of the crew at the Virginia International Raceway, were able to put on a successful version of the event that debuted last year. To observe restrictions put in place by the state of Virginia, the race had to be rebranded as a private, rather than public, event. Attendance was limited to drivers and their close and friends and families, as well as support crews. All guests had to preregister and sign special waivers before they could attend. The organizers were not allowed to promote the event to the public through advertising or social media. The day of the race, strict social distancing measures had to be observed.
Despite the new rules, the event was able to bring together 45 drivers and raise $50,000 for ALS research. Despite the “race” in the event’s name, it is actually what’s known as “high-performance driving event.” Drivers are not competing with each other (although, as Scott admits, “everybody is trying to get the best lap time, just for bragging rights.”) Rather, it’s an opportunity for people who love fast, high-performance cars to push their vehicles to their potential on an actual race track. Scott drove his brand-new car, a custom Chevrolet with the Racing for ALS logo emblazoned on the hood and #EndALS painted on the rear, built by race sponsor Hendrick Motorsports. However, there was one very important driver who was not able to be behind the wheel.
“Sadly, my brother is not able to drive anymore in the event,” says Scott, “and I think that really caught some people off guard, because some people hadn't seen my brother in a year. I think that really drove it home to people, why we were doing what we were doing, just to see the difference for him in a year.”
Despite not being able to be drive, however, David was still able to participate – and help inspire – the other drivers on the track.
“My brother, he's a superstar,” says Scott. “He got out there and gave an awesome speech and a big thank you. And then he spent the rest of the day either in the race car with Jordan, one of our guys who is a professional level driver and came of his own volition to drive Dave around, or on the golf cart with his daughter and his son.”
Although the day of the race has come and gone, Scott, David, and Racing for ALS are still trying to raise as much as possible to support ALS TDI’s research. To help support their efforts, click here.