Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Dave’s Race 2020 was one of last year’s biggest fundraising success stories, and raised vital funds for research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). The high-performance driving event, held in honor of David Lloyd, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, was held in Virginia in early June of 2020. At that time, restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic were still strict and, in many cases, uncertain. The team at Racing for ALS didn’t even know if they would be able to hold the event at all until a matter of weeks before the drivers hit the course.
“For the three months before the race, we kept telling people we don't know if it’s going to happen,” remembers Scott Lloyd, the president of Racing for ALS and David’s brother. “And then finally, when we got up to the end of April and beginning of May, they started saying we could have 40 drivers, maybe 50 drivers. But even with all of that, we raised $49,000, had a full field of drivers, and had a great time.”
This spring, Dave’s Race 2021, which will take place on May 28th, will be returning in a form much closer to normal. While the 2020 event was a private with no spectators, this year the race will welcome additional drivers back to the track at Virginia International Raceway, as well as their friends and family to the stands. So far interest in the event – in which drivers have the opportunity to test their high performance vehicles on a real racetrack while raising money for ALS TDI – has been enthusiastic. According to Scott, half the slots for drivers were filled within two days of announcing the Race’s return, and with a few weeks to go until the day of the event their fundraising is going better than ever.
“The event is full, which is awesome,” he says. “What's even better, though, is that we've raised almost $75,000, by far the most we've ever raised. Our first year, it was $36,000, last year was $49,000. It continues to grow thanks to an amazing group of people that have been rallying around us and helping us.”
While welcoming the drivers and supporters back to the track is important to Scott, there is one thing that makes this year truly special – the fact that Dave Lloyd, the race’s namesake and inspiration, will be there. Even though he cannot drive in the race any longer, he will be serving as Scott’s crew chief, talking him through the race from the pit.
“I'm grateful that my brother's here and that he's going to be taking part,” Scott says. “We were told he would be gone in October of 2019, and he continues to prove the doctors wrong. The time I have with him, and the time we get to spend together, is always awesome.”
In another encouraging change for 2021, for us as well as Scott and Racing for ALS, some of ALS TDI’s own team will be able to go down and join the fun. It’s a big development for a team that has sorely missed seeing our community at events over the past year.
“The fact that [ALS TDI Development Manager] Glynis [Murray] and [COO] Bashar [Al-Nakhala] are coming to the event, we are definitely excited about that,” says Scott. “We just appreciate the support of ALS TDI and all the TDI staff.”
For more information about Dave’s Race 2021, click here. You can also follow Racing for ALS on Facebook and Instagram to see more of their story. To learn more about ALS TDI’s research to end ALS, click here.