Funny car! Serious cause!

Ok race fans, friends, and family. I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before, I’m going to ask for help? First I must share a brief story with you, so you will understand the cause. As a kid growing up in Central Minnesota, my family got involved in drag racing. We had a couple cars throughout the years, but eventually ended up with an alcohol funny car. For those that aren’t familiar with drag racing, these are billet aluminum chassis cars, with fiberglass bodies, and great big 500 cubic inch supercharged hemi motors. Today’s alcohol funny cars traverse the 1/4 mile at over 280mph. Back in the 80’s you would find us at one of a handful of drag strips in MN, WI, and IA vicinity. Often times in Cedar Falls Iowa, Great Lakes Dragway, or Brainerd International Raceway to name a few. So as a young kid, before the days of video games, you could find me in the garage hands greasy working with my dad re-building the motors, waxing the body, or just sitting in the seat, dreaming of what it must be like to drive this wicked machine. As a young kid I became attached to this inanimate object, it was my safe place when I needed to escape the world around me. For the darkest of days lay ahead. It was 1987, our family has just been uprooted from Mound, MN to Ankeny, IA. Not long after moving to Iowa, my mother decided to pursue a different life, and she left me, my brother, and my father in Iowa, and ran off to be with the previous owner of the funny car. . As one would expect, none of us really felt that enthusiastic about drag racing anymore, and times got tough, so the car went up for sale. It wasn’t long and a gentleman by the name of Don contacted my father, and was interested in the car. Don and a friend came all the way from Apple Valley, California and they bought the whole thing, the car, the trailer, both motors, all the tools, everything! Off it went, another huge piece of my life, gone but never forgotten! Fast forward 32 years, still adorning my garage, and my fathers garage are pictures of the funny car, my computer screen saver is the funny car, and while I knew without a doubt this car was long gone, nothing more than a distant memory of a time when my family was whole, and life was innocent and good! Likely destroyed in a wreck, or pieced out to make something else, I was always thankful for those photos. I never imagined that 32 years later a guy would reach out to me on Facebook to tell me he found what he believed to be our families old funny car. Sitting completely undisturbed for the past 32 years still in the trailer untouched by man since my dad lay out it away in 1987. So the story picks up in California, where James the fellow that reached out to me on Facebook, worked for a gentleman named Don, who owned an engine machine shop and Sitting out back of his machine shop was a big red trailer, that sat locked up and undisturbed for 28 years. Then the city came by and told Don he had to move the trailer because it had been vandalized with graffiti and was breaking a city ordinance. So in a panic to find a spot for it, Don asked his employee James if he could keep it on his property. So for the next 5 years the trailer sat at James’ house, nobody could locate the trailer keys, so they hadn’t been inside to even see what was in it. A few months ago, Don the owner, was diagnosed with cancer, and suggested to James that he see if he can get into the trailer, and see if it was anything worth selling, as Don’s outlook was grim. Apparently, after all this time, the trailer keys were sitting just inside the “unlocked” trailer door. once inside James said everything was covered in dust, he couldn’t even tell what it was, he took a leaf blower and hit the car with it, and under all that dust, was the name “Tony Palesotti”. After some research on Facebook James was able to connect with me, he sent me a picture of the car, and said, I may have found your dads old car. I cried, it was like finding a long lost relative you thought had passed long ago. A moment that you only witness in movies, and the kind of story you’d expect to see on one of those “barn finds” shows. So that brings me to today! I’m 40 years old today, I’m expecting my first child literally in the next few days, and I can’t help but think about my childhood, and what this seemingly inanimate object meant to me. My father turns 70 this year, and I have this far fetched vision, of me, my son, and my father, creating lasting memories with our long lost family friend. But more importantly, I want to help a man, who is suffering, both medically, and financially. I just can’t do it alone, as I am not a wealthy man. I spend the vast majority of my time volunteering for the youth in my community running sports programs, and while I’m blessed to have had a job for the last 11 years, it just barely provides what it takes to support my little family. My father, turning 70 in September, should’ve retired years ago, but after 16 years he was escorted out of his workplace because they decided to go a different direction. Now a tour boat Captain he is reeling from the effects as we all are from the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently experiencing. So out of options, and wanting desperately to help the current owner, and selfishly wanting to reconnect with a long lost friend, I have decided to take to the masses and see if any of my fellow friends, family, race enthusiast, philanthropists, or just anyone that wants to be part of something really great, has any interest in supporting my vision of helping Don during his significant battle with cancer, and then using the car as a platform to further the efforts of raising funds for things like Cancer & Alzheimer’s research in the future by doing car shows, and major events. If we don’t raise enough capital to fund the project, I will donate the funds raised to St. Judes Cancer research in Don’s name.

Donations

  • Jennifer Ackerman 
    • $100 
    • 11 d
  • Gary Rahm 
    • $100 
    • 12 d
  • Steven Frisby  
    • $100 
    • 12 d
  • Desiree Alexander 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Marc McCorkle 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
See all

Organizer

Justin Palesotti 
Organizer
Saint Augustine, FL
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