Drivers at Florence Motor Speedway race for autism awareness

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TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence Motor Speedway in Timmonsville hosted a series of races Saturday afternoon to raise funds for a local charity.

Proceeds from raffle tickets and autism-themed merchandise were donated to All 4 Autism, a nonprofit that aims to increase awareness and resources for people with autism throughout the Pee Dee. Many fans and drivers were happy to help out.

“You get that thundering rush when they get ready to start off, racing side by side,” spectator David Blick said. “It’s good that we can recognize those children so that maybe they can go other places and enjoy fundraisers like today.” Many at the track today have been personally affected by autism in one way or another.

“I have two nephews that are like that,” driver Mike Stafford said. “It’s very important.” Another driver shared that sentiment.

“I’m happy to support autism awareness,” driver Walter Akin said. “In fact, our other car, our dirt car, is an autism awareness car.” He said that when he arrives places in his autism-themed racecar, people often approach him to talk about their personal connection to autism. It helped him see how close autism is to every family.

“These kids are just as important as anybody else,” Florence Motor Speedway owner Steven Zacharias said. “We want them to be able to have fun with the other kids but we’ve got to do things a little differently to make that happen.” Before running Florence Motor Speedway, Zacharias operated a different race track in Myrtle Beach. He said that at one point, Myrtle Beach Speedway was nationally recognized for being autism-friendly.

Qualifying races began at 1:30. Vintage cars, mini-stocks and super trucks competed throughout the afternoon.

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