Racers prepare for 20th annual Mike Cecil Memorial

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(Photo courtesy of Cecil Family)

WATSONVILLE — For 20 years, stock car racers in the area have been coming together to honor Mike Cecil, who lost his life to cancer in September 1997.

The event will return Aug. 5 at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and will be open to the public.

The event focuses on International Motor Contest Association Sport, Hobby and Modified class stock cars, as well as Four Bangers and Taco Bravo Sprints. The race has been rapidly growing, drawing more than 120 cars and several thousand dollars in prizes last year.

Event organizer and Cecil’s son, Tim Cecil, is optimistic about the turnout this year as well. Cecil said that while the prize money is not set yet, he has already collected more than $16,000 for the event from various donors.

There will also be a raffle that features myriad non-cash prizes, ranging from smaller items such as new tires to a grand prize of a powder coated Shaw chassis with a complete interior provided by Ryland Racing. All proceeds from the raffle will go to the prize pot.

Tim Cecil emphasized that the races were all about helping the stock car racing community. For many of the drivers, stock car racing is a hobby, one that rarely pays well, but builds a multigenerational familial relationship among its members. Jim Pettit and Bobby Hogge, for example, are a few of the drivers who raced against Mike Cecil. But now, Tim Cecil said, their kids are driving and taking over the track.

Mike Cecil, the first back-to-back winner of the 100-lap race (now the Mike Cecil Memorial Race) and 1995 track champion, was known in the community for his willingness help others.

“My dad was always one of the first to help another driver, you know, whether it be parts or hands,” Tim Cecil said. “That’s why we’re doing this now to give back to the guys and get a little money in their pockets.”

For ticket information, visit www.racepmg.com/oceanspeedway/events/mike-cecil-classic-1000-to-win or follow the event page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Mikececilmemorial.

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