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Donors strive to best NASCAR driver, boost nonprofit at Driven Raceway
Facility NewsMore than 30 competitors took to the track Wednesday to beat the lap time set by NASCAR driver Jim Inglebright.

The Leaven’s Solano Great Race fundraiser at Driven Raceway brought several heats full of hopefuls who were aiming to beat the professional driver’s time of 17.55 seconds. Inglebright started off the event by hugging corners and sliding around corners.

When told he was 0.3 seconds off the course record, Inglebright second-guessed a few curves from his previous laps.

“That would have been so cool,” he said. “I would have made them put my picture on the wall.”

That lighthearted mood was shared by most who put on the helmet and pumped the pedals. Even those bouncing off barriers and spinning out seemed to enjoy themselves.

Wednesday’s race raised money for The Leaven’s Grande Circle operation, which is among several locations in Fairfield and Suisun City that offer educational after-school activities. While Inglebright got to run the laps solo, those trying to beat his time were grouped together in heats.

Senior Airman Cameron Balazic won his heat with a time of 18.3 seconds. He said it took a couple of laps to get acclimated, but he had visited the track before and leaned on his past experiences.

“It’s hard to get a feel for it at first,” he said. “(After) a couple of laps, I had it dialed to just me driving.”

Mark Lillis, executive director of The Leaven, said he was happy to see the third year of the event draw more people than in past years. He said it was great to see the competitiveness among elected officials, military personnel and other donors. He said the event is a good way to gain awareness for The Leaven, being that people can’t regularly visit the sites.

“There’s a lot of ways we can connect with the community,” Lillis said.
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