It was back in 1973 I believe, Dad (Fred Sharples) was a mechanic on Bernie Reddicks race cars driven by Howie Scannell. Dad was well known around the pits but this story takes a slight twist. This story is based upon Moms (Jean Sharples) workplace, The Villa Hospital in Thornhill.
The Villa Hospital residents were mostly kids with severe illnesses and all of them in wheel chairs. Mom asked the powers that be at the Villa, got the proper permissions and then asked Dad to approach Pinecrest Owner, Rocco DiCarlo about bringing the Villa Hospital Kids to the races one Saturday night. Rocco agreed and a few weeks later The Villa Hospital was at Pinecrest.
They were to watch from the VIP booth at Pinecrest which was at the top of the grandstands, these kids are in wheel chairs. Dad spoke for a minute at the Drivers Meeting and next thing we knew we had more drivers and crew members helping than there were kids.
Dad, Howie Scannell, Dan Budzak, Ted Lacey, Bernie Reddick, Donnie Hawn, Vic Parsons, Tommy Milligan and many more came across the front stretch with Hats, Stickers, Hero Cards and whatever they had for these kids and then they carried them up to the VIP booth so they could see the races.
I don’t remember much about that night as far as the racing as I was helping to keep an eye on the Kids from the Villa, but at the end of the night the guys all came back over and brought them all down again. I can tell you those kids talked about that night for a long time after, they had a great time thanks to a track promoter and the racers from back in the day.