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Driver races for a cause

Autism fight is big winner for Atwater's Vieira


By Scott Linesburgh

Record Staff Writer

August 21, 2010 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - When Carlos Vieira started his auto racing career three years ago, he wanted it to be about more than winning and losing.

He sought to use racing as a way to help a worthy cause. And that's how "Race For Autism" received the green flag.

Vieira is co-sponsoring today's event at Stockton 99 Speedway with track promoters Tony and Carol Noceti. The main event is a 100-lap NASCAR Western Late Model race, and Carol Noceti said she expects a field of close to 30 drivers, including Vieira.

Today's races

Race for Autism

Green flag: 6 p.m.,

Stockton 99 Speedway

Racing divisions: Western Late Model, Bombers, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, Vintage Hard Tops and MMRA Baby Grands and Mini Cups

Information: (209) 466-9999  or stockton99.com

"Calls have been coming in droves, and we expect a very large turnout," she said.

The program begins at 6 p.m., and Miss California State 2010, Amanda Rosas of Manteca, will sing the national anthem and act as the trophy girl. There also will be a motorcycle "poker run," which will leave Livingston at 11 a.m. and stop in Waterford, Oakdale and Farmington before going to Stockton 99, where the riders will be invited to show their support by parading around the track.

Vieira, a 38-year-old from Atwater, has dedicated the past few seasons to raising money for autism.

In 2009, he set a goal to raise $51,000, to match the No. 51 on his car. He ended up raising $53,000. This season, the on-going Carlos Vieira Foundation (carlosvieirafoundation.org) is dedicated to raising money for charities.

Vieira said he decided to support autism because of a friend he works with at A.V. Thomas Produce in Livingston.

"Her son has autism, and she has talked about the many challenges a family faces," Vieira said. "I knew I wanted to do something to help out a good cause and thought that this would be something worthy to do. I love to race, and it makes it special to be able to help out as much as we can. People have been very generous."

Vieira, who also runs on the Supermodified Racing League's Southwest Tour, did the first "Ride For Autism" event at Madera Speedway last year. This season, he approached the Nocetis about having it at Stockton 99.

"Carlos came to us and asked, and we thought it was a wonderful idea," Carol Noceti said. "We are eager to do fundraiders for non-profit groups, and we are very happy to host the event."

Carol Noceti said a portion of each ticket sold will be donated, and Vieira indicated he was spreading the funds over a number of charities.

The grandstands at Stockton 99 open at 4 p.m. Prices are $17 for adults and $12 for children ages 11-15, seniors over 60 and military personnel (with ID).

The poker run motorcycle journey will start at the 51Fifty Race Shop, 521 Industrial Drive, in Livingston. The fee is $25, and participants receive a ride pin, food and a free pass into the races.


Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or slinesburgh@recordnet.com.