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Autos for Autism: Racing for a cause

Autos for Autism is set to take place on April 30 at the Bonne Terre Dragstrip located at 7640 Blackberry Lane and will benefit Visions of Hope Training Program.

Visions of Hope Board of Directors General Director Tonya Pennington said Visions of Hope will be opening on June 1 in Farmington and they are a not-for-profit organization that offers training programs to adults with autism.

“They will teach them vocational and social skills to make them employable,” said Pennington. “Our actual store front we are opening in Farmington is called Dressed to Impress Resale Shop. It is going to a professional boutique that sells resale clothing. The funds from the store is going to help finance our training program.”

Pennington said they have done a lot of fundraisers this year to help increase the startup funding and Autos for Autism is their last big fundraiser before their doors open.

“The Autos for Autism will start at 10 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to noon they will do a car, motorcycle and truck show,” said Pennington. “Around noon is when the racing will start and pre-registration is not required. Those who would like to participate can just show up the day of the event.”

Pennington said the car show can be entered by donation only and the race portions varies by class. There are four classes and the cost is $30 for motorcycles with the payout depending on participation, the ET class will be $50 with a $500 payout, $50 for Comp with a guaranteed payout of $500 and $60 Super Comp with a guaranteed $1,000 Payout.

“There will also be a hula hoop contest for the kids because sometimes the kids who are at the track all day long get restless and want some more entertainment,” said Pennington. “We will have a silent auction, there will be a Car Chix autograph session with several ladies who are in the calendar and will be there will their cars, there will be raffles, a 50/50 and food will be sold.”

Pennington said they have a lot of different things for the raffle, including a full vehicle tent, a welding helmet, car parts, restaurant type things and racing apparel. Most of it so far is for car enthusiasts.

“I am a passionate drag racer and race at Bonne Terre Dragstrip a lot on the weekends,” said Pennington. “Last year I was nominated to be in the Car Chix calendar, which is a nationally known organization who recognizes women in motorsports.”

Pennington said whenever she won she was going to part her winnings with another cause that is near and dear to her heart, which is Visions of Hope.

“That’s where the whole car event came from, I promised if I won I would put a smoke and drag race on to celebrate,” said Pennington. “From there I decided to make this help out a good cause. This will be a family fun event and we have gotten great support from the community.”

There is a $10 admission fee to enter the track and 12 and under are free. For those who would like to make a donation can contact Tonya Pennington at 573-631-2074 and for more information visit the event page, Autos 4 Autism, on Facebook.

There will be four classes in the Autos for Autism event.

• $30 – Motorcycle – Payout TBD based on participation

• $50 – ET Class – Guaranteed $500 Payout (Footbrake only — No transbrake, no boxes allowed)

• $50 – Comp Class– Guaranteed $500 Payout (9.49 & Faster, transbrake allowed, no boxes allowed)

• $60 – Super Comp Class– Guaranteed $1,000 Payout (7.49 & Faster, No Restrictions)

Double entry is allowed and first round buybacks (half price of racing class fee)

Autos for Autism will be held at the Bonne Terre Dragstrip to benefit Visions of Hope.

Autos for Autism will be held at the Bonne Terre Dragstrip to benefit Visions of Hope.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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