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'Autos 4 Autism' returns for third year

Jeff Nichols takes a run down the strip in his 1967 Pontiac Firebird during the 2017 Autos 4 Autism drag race. The event returns for a third year on April 21 at the Bonne Terre Drag Strip, located at 7640 Black Berry Lane in Bonne Terre.

April is designated as Autism Awareness Month and one local organization helping those diagnosed on the spectrum has a slate of events planned for the month.

Jessica Harmon with Visions of Hope says the kick-off for the month will be a “Light It Up Blue” event for downtown Farmington during the first week, followed by a cruise-in car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 7 on the parking lot of the St. Francois County Courthouse Annex on North Washington Street.

Harmon said she hopes all downtown businesses and establishments can participate in one way or another to deck the downtown in blue as a way to raise awareness.

The cruise-in is a lead-in event to the third annual “Light It Up Blue – Autos 4 Autism” scheduled from 10 a.m. 5 p.m. April 21 at the Bonne Terre Drag Strip, located at 7640 Black Berry Lane in Bonne Terre. In the event of rain, the event will take place on April 28.

Proceeds from the car, motorcycle and truck show plus drag racing event will support Visions of Hope, which is a vocational and social skills training programs for individuals with autism ages 15 and up to prepare them for employment opportunities in the community.

Training is provided through a real-world work experience of Dress 2 Impress, the organization’s upscale resale shop located at 117 E. Columbia St. in Farmington.

Social skills training is integrated into the daily activities at the store and through trips to local businesses, such as the post office and banks. The community is invited to support this cause by donating, shopping at the resale store, sponsoring an events or volunteering.

And for motor enthusiasts, there’s no better way than to participate in the “Autos 4 Autism” event.

The event features first-place trophies for each car show division, plus guaranteed $500 payouts for ET Class and Comp and $1,000 payout for Super Comp in the drag racing events.

The cost for admission is $10 per person. Children ages 12 and under are free.

New this year is a monster truck car crush with High Roller – owned by Jeff Krekeler – taking place at noon.

Also new this year is the opportunity to win a 2018 Dodge Charger Daytona Edition, courtesy of Auto Plaza Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram of Farmington.

Tickets are $100 each, or $300 for four tickets. At least 500 tickets must be sold for the car give away. If not, the giveaway will be a 50/50 drawing from the amount sold.

Plans are also underway to once again include a car/motorcycle/truck show. Categories include cars from 1979 and older; cars from 1980 and newer; trucks from 1979 and older; trucks from 1980 and newer; cruiser motorcycles; sport bike motorcycles and special interest.

The “Best of Show” award will be determined by the kids’ votes and is free.

In the drag racing portion of the day, double entry is allowed with first round buybacks (one-half price of racing class fee).

The cost of entry for motorcycles is a donation of $40, along with the Jr. Dragster class with a $40 donation entry fee. ET class is $60 donation with a guaranteed $500 payout – footbrake only, no transbrake or boxes allowed. Comp class is $60 donation with guaranteed $500 payout and is for 9.49 and faster, transbrake allowed but no boxes allowed.

Super Comp is an entry fee of a $70 with a guaranteed $1,000 payout. The Super Comp is 7.49 and faster and no restrictions.

Platinum sponsors include Auto Plaza Group, Cam Thomas Racing, H&A Auto Sales-Jim Gross, KREI/J98, B104/KFMO, Marler Towing, High Roller-Jeff Krekeler and Ozark Auto Sales/White Weddings. Platinum sponsorship opportunities are open until March 31.

For more information about the program, to purchase a ticket or for more information, visit Dress 2 Impress at 117 E. Columbia St. in Farmington, visit www.visionsofhoperesale.com or look for Visions of Hope on Facebook.

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