Quick! Name two creatures that like driving down the road with the top down and the wind blowing through their hair. The only two I can think of are people and their pets, so the idea of turning next week’s Playboy MX-5 Cup at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca into a fundraiser for the Monterey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) seems perfectly natural to me.
The story for this event begins four years ago, as Mazda has regularly partnered with the SPCA at major race weekends in order to promote the message of adopting animals from shelters. Since 2007, a variety of Mazda drivers have supported the message but next week’s race marks the first time that a car will be branded with large SPCA lettering. Behind the wheel of car number 105 (a tribute to the SPCA’s 105th anniversary) will be former Indy 500 Champion Danny Sullivan. You may remember Danny from his legendary win of the 1985 race after spinning out on the 120th lap, recovering from the spin undamaged, and then going on to win. Given that Danny and his wife Brenda are already actively involved with the SPCA for Monterey County, the partnership seems like a perfect fit.
But Mazda and the former race champ aren’t the only ones getting involved. While the folks at Mazda may be providing the car and crew, BF Goodrich has offered to donate the tires, the SCCA has graciously waived the entry fee, and other race lovers have donated $5,000 to the SPCA, allowing this event to graduate in status from that of a local PR tactic to a more prominent fundraising campaign.
The public is invited to join “Danny’s Pet Crew” next Sunday, May 23rd by making a donation to the SPCA. The first 105 fans to contribute $105 or more will receive a race-day ticket, a Pet Crew team t-shirt, and have an opportunity to meet Danny. The five fans donating the most money will be invited to watch the race from Mazda’s VIP suite above pitlane, complete with complimentary lunch, beverages, air conditioning, and a spectacular view of the day’s activities. It’s just too bad that Spot can’t ride along during the race--he’d probably love it.