2022 Fundraising Check Presentation

Auto Racers for Kids Charity was so proud and honored to present checks for $8,500 EACH to four deserving charities from all of our 2022 fundraising efforts. Thank you to our entire community of people that support our events and our efforts, as it is because of YOU, that we can do this. We are just the “faces”, but without each one of you all, this can not be done.

Proudly, this has been our highest donating year since Covid shut our world down. Auto Racers for Kids board members never gave up, we never quit trying and thankfully, you supported us through it all! 2022’s donations were $36,500!! Yes, we raised that much just in 2022!!

We awarded $2500 via private donations to local families in need and $8,500 to Erie Dawn, Second Harvest Food Bank – Backback Program, EUMA’s The Refuge and the NW PA Autism Society’s “Auto Racers for Kids Social Lego Club”.Members for each charity were on hand last night to accept these donations and WJET/Fox also showed up to capture this special event!

The entire ARK board was on hand, with the exception of VP Scott Bonnell who was unfortunately out of town.


New Facebook!

Unfortunately, we lost all admin control to our previous facebook page, so we had to make a new page! We are starting from the ground up, so make sure you join us on the NEW page!!



Auto Racers for Kids Bowling Tournament

We are once again hosting our famed bowling tournament at Eastway Lanes on Sunday, November 20, 2022. Action is slated to begin around 12:00 with bowlers arriving and gearing up, warmups around 12:30 and game play around 1pm! Auto Racers for Kids is planning a Gift Auction, will have a 50/50 and you can take your chances with the Strike Fund during intermissions!

All bowlers will be receiving an event T-Shirt to be designed and printed by Octane Custom Designs!!

Registered Teams:

  • I Can’t Believe Its Not Gutter
  • Chicken Pluckers
  • Undecided (Actual team name coming soon)
  • Holy Split
  • PSN
  • Team GEM – Gary Eicher Motorsports
  • TSG & the Rollers
  • Hollywood Strikes
  • Hazey Daze
  • Livin on a Spare
  • The Chunky Bunch
  • Bus Witches
  • Sparkplugs (Matthews)
  • Just Winging It
  • Slater Run Resources
  • Will Thomas Motorsports
  • Cipriano Racing
  • Cavemen
  • Krummert Racing
  • Gutter Girls
  • Vic King Pins
  • The Turkey Hunters
  • Team Snappy
  • Lordy Rollers
  • 96 Race Team
  • Ball Joints
  • Sophisticated AF
  • Team Tobber Racing
  • Split Happens
  • Incredibowls

ARK Continues Making an Impact at the Second Harvest Food Bank

In January, the board gathered to discuss and hand out funds raised in 2021. Due to covid, we haven’t done big check presentations as we have in years past, but, that doesn’t mean we aren’t still doing the good work! Amounts were decided and checks were mailed! We sent money to Northwest PA Autism Society, Second Harvest Food Bank, Erie Dawn, EUMA’s The Refuge and the Bethesda Community Center.

Last night we had the pleasure of meeting Natalie from the Second Harvest Food Bank who asked if she could come meet us and do a check presentation. Natalie was beyond thrilled with our donation and let us know that what we donated provided over 26000 MEALS!!! Yes, 26,000!!

Since 2015, ARK has donated $66,450 to the Second Harvest Food Bank, specifically earmarked for the Backpack Program which goes to school aged children in need. That $66,450 translates into 398,700 MEALS!!!!

This is just a small portion of what we have donated out to local charities over the years and we represent each and every one of YOU! We are nothing without you! Thank you so much for your support and we hope to continue this amazing work!!

The Second Harvest Food Bank does amazing work and we are so incredibly proud to help in any way we can. They have programs to help military families in Erie, Franklin & Mercer Counties, along with their Backpack Programs which is in 54 Schools now!!!


ARK Continues funding relationship with the Autism Society – LEGO Club

Auto Racers for Kids Charity has partnered with the Northwest PA Autism Society for the past 8 years. We believe in their vision of creating and executing of the Building Connections LEGO Club, a therapeutic LEGO Club for children and teens on the autism spectrum. Over the 8 years, they have had the pleasure of #BuildingFriendshipsBrickbyBrick with 730 students in kindergarten thru grade 12!

Auto Racers for Kids strives to make a positive impact in the lives of kids, teens, and families in our community! The Northwest PA Autism Society does just that and we are honored to work to fully fund the LEGO Club. Not only do we fund the ERIE chapter of the LEGO Club, we fund the Crawford Chapter also!

From Tish Bartlett, Executive Director of the AS-NWPA: LEGO Club therapy has proven results for motivating learning and behavioral changes by drawing upon a child’s natural interest. In 2021, we initiated a LEGO Club mentor program. We have LEGO clubber alumni returning to volunteer as mentors to our LEGO Club littles (K-5). The mentors are expected to set a good example by following the LEGO Club rules and managing their behaviors because they want to serve as role models. The mentor can demonstrate how to handle difficult emotional situations to the mentee. An individual on the autism spectrum being a role model for young participants also on the autism spectrum has many benefits but one major component is sharing the understanding of their internal feelings.

We are proud and honored to be a partner with Auto Racers For Kids Charity for 8 years. Auto Racers for Kids believed in our vision of creating, Building Connections LEGO Club, a therapeutic LEGO Club for children and teens on the autism spectrum. Over the 8 years, we have had the pleasure of #BuildingFriendshipsBrickbyBrick with 730 – kindergarten thru grade 12!

Thank you, Auto Racers for Kids, for making a positive impact in the lives of kiddos, teens, and families in our community!

LEGO Club therapy has proven results for motivating learning and behavioral changes by drawing upon a child’s natural interest. In 2021, we initiated a LEGO Club mentor program. We have LEGO clubber alumni returning to volunteer as mentors to our LEGO Club littles (K-5). The mentors are expected to set a good example by following the LEGO Club rules and managing their behaviors because they want to serve as role models. The mentor can demonstrate how to handle difficult emotional situations to the mentee. An individual on the autism spectrum being a role model for young participants also on the autism spectrum has many benefits but one major component is sharing the understanding of their internal feelings.

Pictured: (L to R) Scott Bonnell, ARK Vice President; Nikki Layton, ARK Secretary; Jill Blair, ARK President; Becca Hess, ARK Board, Tish Bartlett, AS NWPA Executive Director; Jeff Plyler, ARK Board.


New members to the organization!

There have been many changes over the last few months at ARK but one thing we would like to take a second to highlight is that we have brought on 2 new members to our organization! They won’t really get their feet wet until things get back to normal, but we know they will be amazing assets to our ever growing & changing charity! One thing remains clear, the children are the most important! 👏👶👧🧒

➡️Becca Hess⬅️

Becca is the wife of Dave, #44H Super Late Driver, and the two share 2 children, Jaxon 6 and Aubree, 3. Becca is an Application Systems Analyst at Marquette Savings Bank. Becca is looking forward to helping ARK be successful in our fundraising events and wants to bring more fun & exciting events to the area to continue to help spread awareness of what we do for those in our local community. When we asked her why ARK, she responded that ARK has been a charity that has always had a close place in her heart. After having children of her own and having spent almost every Sunday at Eriez Speedway, for the last 15 years, one of the events benefiting ARK caught her eye a few years ago. She saw it promoted all over social media and decided to read up on the charity a little more to see what they were about. It opened her eyes to need of children and families right here in her own local community. It became a charity that she wanted to help support in any way that I could.Outside of ARK & work, Becca can be found at a racetrack near by throughout racing season, cheering on Dave and his late model team or the family’s newest driver, her son Jaxon, in his go-kart. When not racing, they love to be on the water canoeing or kayaking, camping or watching football (Becca is an Eagles fan). At home, she is the ring leader of her little circus and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Becca loves to take care of people, especially her family and loves to solve any problems that arise!

➡️Karen Harvey⬅️

Karen, is the wife of Jeff, retired racer and the two have all grown children so they focus their energies on their 4 legged kids! They have Rosco, who is 8, Fiona 7, Flash Richard 3 and Arnold who is 6. Karen & Jeff love their pets more than life and have some of the best pet stories we have ever heard! Karen is an Operations Manager at JD Byrider. She is a huge Shane Clanton & Max Blair fan! Karen joined ARK because she likes to help people and she is looking forward to being of service to ARK and our community.When we asked Karen why ARK, she said that her family has been long time racing fans and she loves to be able to help wherever and whenever she can! Karen & Jeff have actually volunteered their services at several events already over the past year and joined several members of ARK at a charity gala earlier this year. It only seemed fitting we accept Karen into the organization so she can be even more of service and share her expertise!

⭐️Welcome to both Becca & Karen.⭐️ We are excited to work with you both!


Bowling Tournament a Great Success!!

Thank you to everyone that made our 1st ever (now Annual) bowling tournament a great success! We had so much fun and raised an amazing amount of money for local children in need!

We can not thank you all enough, but know that every little bit makes a huge difference in someone’s life! Our work will never be complete and we hope you all stick by us as we continue!

Corporate Sponsors: Murphy’s Logging, Hammett Motors, Specialty Products, Plyler Entry Systems, Bonnell’s Collision Center & Auto Glass
Bar Sponsor: Zimmer’s Service ULMS Racing Series
Shirt, Signs & Trophy Sponsor: Phantom Signs and Graphics

Winning Prize Sponsors: Eriez Speedway, Riverside Brewing Company, The Waterford Hotel, Country Fair , & TGI Fridays (Erie)

Everyone that donated a gift auction item! Everyone that bowled on a team! Everyone that came to support even if not bowling! Everyone that donated to the Pie in Face contest! To our Original Pie in Face contestants, Dave Hess & Max Blair and to our additional guys – Brandon Groters, Steve Kania & Mike Wonderling – ALL FOR BEING AMAZING SPORTS!

Our 50/50 Winner – Ken Zimmer & our final Strike Fund Winner T.J. Mitchell – both for donating portions of their winnings back to ARK!

Eastway Lanes – We came, we made a mess, we tried to help clean -we thank you all so so so much for your help and hospitality! We hope you don’t hate us for the whipped cream mess (bigger tarps were needed, which for that we were unprepared) and we hope you’d consider us back in the future! (with more preparation of course)

And of course, the ARK Board and volunteers that had some kind of job or duty yesterday that made the entire day possible!!! Board Member Matt Patterson approached the board with this idea and was given the green light to run with it! With his ideas and the organization of the board members around him, we had a very successful 1st Bowling Tournament and we will definitely plan another!! 🧡🎳🖤


Happy New Year! Changes to our Board!

Happy New Year! The year 2020 starts a new decade for all and some changes for our board!

First & foremost, thank you to EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has supported our charity in one way or another! Without you, we could not give anywhere close to what we give to our local charity partners, including, but not limited to, all of our charity & event sponsors, monetary & item donators, and those of you, so many of you, that have supported one, many, or all of our events throughout the years! With so much wrong in the world, we are getting this right and it feels amazing giving back and helping children! We have some plans this year, to get more information out to you all about what your money is doing for these charities! If you missed the announcement in November, Auto Racers for Kids Charity donated $45,000 to 5 charities this year, toppling our grand total of donations since 2008 at over $400,000!!! Those 5 charities were the Northwest PA Autism Society, where ark is the title sponsor of the Social Lego Club, along with Erie Dawn, The 2nd Harvest Food Bank backpack program, Bethesda Trinity Center & EUMA – The Refuge. There is already a little bit about each of them on our site, but stay tuned as we hope to build on that!

Our longstanding board president, Tom Woolslayer, has made the personal decision to step down as president. Tom spent many years leading Auto Racers for Kids and has built many great relationships around the community benefiting ARK. He does however remain with the board, and is working one on one to help transition our new board president in to her role. Tom will still be seen at all the events, and he has taken on a new role with ARK as he is our new treasurer.

Jill DiMattio, treasurer, has made the decision to end her time with ARK at the conclusion of 2019. Jill has done tremendous work for us, handling all of the banking, taxes, licensing, & beyond over her years on the ARK board. Jill was with us from the beginning and her presence will be greatly missed, but we wish her well in all of her future endeavors!

With that being said, we’d like to welcome Jill Blair into the role of Auto Racers for Kids President. Jill is already transitioning very well into her new role and we know she will continue the great work of ARK! Jill joined Auto Racers just this past year, but she has brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise & connections with her. She is a go-getter and with Tom’s help, we believe all will go great!

Laurie Woolslayer, board secretary has stepped down. Laurie still remains with the charity, but she felt her time as secretary has expired. She is a very busy lady and felt the board needed someone who could give more time to the role. With that, we welcome 2 year board member, Nikki Layton, into the secretary role. Nikki will do great work in the role of the secretary and keep us all organized & up to date on needed information. She already updates the website regulary, is one of the few members that handles the social media and she monitors our charity email account.

We also would like to welcome new members, Matt Patterson & Darlene Kerstetter whom both joined the board in the fall of 2019. Matt joined with the bowling tournament idea and has run with it! Thank you Matt, we look forward to this new event!

As you can see, there are a lot of changes going on behind the scenes, but our mission remains the same. We believe all kids should have access to a safe environment, food, shelter and clothing. We will do everything in our power to continue to provide these necessities to the local children, here in our very own community. ARK will start the year off with our first event, a Bowling Tournament at Eastway Lanes on February 29. All information regarding the tournament is posted on both our facebook and our website! We have filled all 26 team spots, so our tournament is sold out! We couldn’t be more excited for our first ever bowling event! We hope to see you there, whether bowling or supporting the event! There will be games of chance, a pie in the face contest and a raffle auction!


Auto Racers for Kids Charity
Po Box 9602, Erie PA 16506

President – Jill Blair     (814)746-1111
Vice President – Scott Bonnell
Treasurer – Tom Woolslayer
Secretary – Nikki Layton
Board Members: Jeff Plyler, Mike Langer, Kathy Rohrer, Laurie Woolslayer, Justin Plyler, Brandon Groters, Erin Groters, Chad Wagner, Matt Patterson, Darlene Kerstetter


Pie in the FACE!

As previously announced, our first event of 2020 is going to be our 1st ever Bowling Tournament to be held at Eastway Lanes, Saturday, February 29, 2020!  More information can be found under the Events Tab!

To go along with this bowling and to seek more involvement from our local racers, we are hosting a Pie in the Face contest and pitting 2 local competitors against each other, almost like the King Of The Hill, but instead of getting a checkered flag, the winner gets to Pie the loser!  


Max Blair and Dave Hess have signed on to be our 1st contestants in our 1st ever Pie in the Face King of the Hill!  We can not thank these 2 drivers enough for their support and show of sportsmanship!  


The pie throwing will happen at the bowling tournament, February 29.

The fundraising has started, and will continue up until the Bowling Tournament!

The driver to raise the most funds will get to pie the driver who raises the least funds! So, if you want to see Max get pied, donate to Team Hess and if you want to see Dave get pied, donate to Team Blair!  All funds go directly to the charity!

How can you donate, you ask?

Electronically – Venmo – Nikkilayton or Payapl – – Specify to which team you are donating to.  Paypal users – be sure to use the friends & family option.
Cash – Donate to Hess, Blair or any ARK Board Member
Check – Made Payable to Auto Racers for Kids, put the “Team” you are donating to in the memo line and mail to Auto Racers for Kids, PO Box 9602, Erie PA  16506


The competetition is heating up!!!
**Both Team Hess & Team Blair are running give-a-ways for persons who donate $5 or more to their team!  Details were posted on their respective Facebook pages – Team Blair Racing & Dave Hess Racing**


Questions – Contact us!