ORLANDO, Fla. – The love of racing runs deep for father and son Bill and Alex Slupski.
“The driver changes, the pit stops, you know, learning the racing line,” Alex Slupski, 20, said.
The Slupskis are combining their racing background with a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, a disease that impacted their family in 2018. Two years ago Alex Slupski’s grandfather, Robert Herzog, passed away after a fight with Alzheimer’s disease.
"When you look at the statistics behind Alzheimer's, you're not alone, no one is alone in this and it's an issue for all of us," Bill Slupski said.
To raise funding for Alzheimer’s research, the Slupskis organized a racing team named “End Alzheimer’s Racing” that will compete in the second annual SimCraft 24 Hours of Orlando karting event, scheduled for Feb. 1- Feb. 2 at the Orlando Karting Center. Last year, the family’s fundraising goal of $3,000 was exceeded for a total of $3,800.
Bill Slupski increased his goal for 2020, hoping to raise $5,000 in donations for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day campaign.
“The longest day and a 24-hour race kinda go together, because it’s really the same thing,” Bill Slupski said.
The Longest Day campaign centers around the summer solstice and collects funding for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Bill Slupski said the stress, financial impacts and health impact on the caregivers is a 24/7 battle.
“You can’t leave someone alone, and my mother-in-law went through that to where my father-in-law would wake up during the middle of the night, she’d have to wake up to make sure that everything was OK,” Bill Slupski said.
More than 35 teams are registered to race this year including some professional drivers from the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
"People come up to us at the track and say that, you know, they have some personal connection with the disease," Alex Slupski said.
The 24-hour race will be held at the Orlando Kart Center located at 10694 Cosmonaut Boulevard in Orlando. It will all begin on Feb. 1 at noon and will conclude Feb. 2 at noon. The race is free to attend for spectators.