Reproduced in part with permission from Jeanni Brosius, AY magazine
For more information go to RaceForHope74.com.
When legendary NASCAR driver Mark Martin retired in 2014, he came back to his hometown of Batesville, with a desire to help others in his community, especially children. There seemed no better way to raise funds to support his efforts than to host a national racing competition at the track where Martin launched his career.
The second annual Race for Hope 74 is scheduled for September 25-29 at the Batesville Motor Speedway in Locust Grove. Martin says the race is expected to draw up to 200 International Motor Contest Association (IMCA)-Modified cars from 30 states and have a purse worth more than $200,000.
“I raced my first race in 1974 at that race track, and owner Mooney Starr and I had a desire to have another nationally recognized event for dirt track racers because that’s where I started,” says Martin. “It is good for grassroots racers from all over the country, and we are combining it with fundraising for the Mark and Arlene Martin Hope for Arkansas Foundation.”
Time trials and qualifying begins Tuesday with free admission in the grand stands. Racing action will begin on Wednesday and run through Saturday. Martin will be present throughout each night.
“Fans don’t have to wait until Saturday night to see a great race,” says Martin. “They’ll see some awesome racing each night with hundreds of cars trying to cut it down to the fastest 30… I will be a very strong presence every night at the race track.”
If you’re not able to attend, there’s live coverage of each night of the race via pay-per-view on IMCA.tv.“I’m a proud Arkansan doing this from my hometown for my home race track,” says Martin. “I put my whole heart into this, making it a tremendous event for fans and competitors. It has been a big part of my life every single day, and I want to make it better and build it bigger … We start three wide, 30 cars, 10 rows.”
Martin said he hopes to build this race up over the next 20 years to give the fans an amazing race experience. “We have some great Arkansas partners that have come on board this year to help get the word out.”
At the Race for Hope 74 feature event on Saturday, drivers compete for $20,000 to win, $10,000 for seventh, and $2,000 to start.
For more information on the race, go to RaceForHope74.com or visit Batesville Motor Speedway’s website at Batesvillemotorspeedway.com.
The Mark and Arlene Martin Hope for Arkansas Foundation focuses on advocacy for children, homelessness, hunger and basic needs.
“My wife, Arlene, and I wanted to start a foundation to help the less fortunate in Arkansas with a special emphasis on Independence County, largely targeting children,” says Martin.
One of the largest contributions the foundation is making is to help open a chapter of a Children’s Advocacy Center based in Batesville that helps abused children in a five-county area. It will be the 17th center in Arkansas. A portion of the Race For Hope 74 ticket sales will benefit Martin’s foundation and the Center.
To see what the foundation is all about, visit MarkandArleneMartinfoundation.org.
The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas initially began in 1999 with three centers. The purpose is to assist and support the state’s local children’s advocacy centers (CACs) and communities through the development, continuation and enhancement of the CAC model. It also serves as a link to regional and national support agencies dedicated to a coordinated and comprehensive response to child abuse. The local centers provide a safe place for neglected and abused children to talk with trained professionals.
The new Child Advocacy Center of Independence County will be located at 510 E. Boswell and is scheduled to open its doors in October and serve children from Independence, Sharp, Fulton, Stone and Izard counties.
“We’ve learned what a tremendous need there is,” says Martin. “When a child goes through something like that, therapy makes a difference in their adult life… It’s really important work… Now the children have to go too far for weekly counseling, this is a gap that needs to be filled.”
To learn more about the Children’s Advocacy Centers, visit cacarkansas.org.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.