When Tom Sheehan races, he’s not the only one who wins
July 25, 2012
It was hard to miss. A blaze orange Chevrolet Camaro surging over the finish line at Watkins Glen; engine roaring, exhaust thundering and the iconic Chevrolet bowtie badge glittering in the sunlight. Tom Sheehan had just taken his first podium placement of the year in his #65, placing second at Watkins Glen in round five of the 2012 Trans Am Series.
Emblazed on that car was something that most Camaro’s don’t have: a pair of angelic wings—the Guardian Angel Motorsports logo. You see, when Tom Sheehan races, he’s not just in it for himself, kids win too.
Tom Sheehan is one of the founders of Guardian Angel Motorsports, a not-for-profit charitable organization that raises money to donate to children in need. Started by Sheehan, Bruce Ledoux and Dave Quinlan, Guardian Angel Motorsports was created with this mission statement “to use motorsports to raise public awareness and funds for children who suffer from severe illness or abuse and to provide monetary support to improve the quality of their lives.”
So far they’ve raised nearly half a million dollars for 14 charities, with all of it going towards disadvantaged children across the United States.
Sheehan sees it as the perfect blend of charity and racing:
“There’s a lot of people who have helped fund my racing and all racing in general throughout the sport’s history and if you can take some of that money that is used on racing and direct it in a charitable direction it’s a win-win. The people who are donating it are happy to do it—they love their cars and their sport, we give them an outlet for that passion. Driver days are a great example. There are so many people with a lot of great cars and nice equipment that want to come out and get coached by guys like me or Eric (Curran) and have a great day racing around the track. They’re going to spend the money either way and at the end of the day I think everyone feels better that the money spent goes towards children in need. We get a lot of support out of the motorsports community, tracks donate time, people donate money or time, it’s great to see everyone who wants to give back.”
One initiative that Guardian Angel Motorsports is currently involved with is Saving Teens in Crisis Collaborative. Sheehan sees it as an initiative for a group that’s often overlooked:
“They’re a charity dedicated to finding and helping teens that are at risk. Whether it’s a bad family situation or just having a rough time with adolescence. It could be drugs, alcohol or just bad life choices. Typically it’s a group of kids that very little is done for. Everyone just says, “oh, they’re just a troubled teen” and there are very few resources for them.”
Guardian Angel Motorsports’ most recent event raised $115,000 for Saving Teens, CJ Wilson Children’s Charities and Matthew L Greer Children’s Foundation & Bethel Wood Center for the Arts through a VIP event at the Monticello Motorclub in New York.
“We couldn’t achieve the level of success that we’ve had for ourselves and these kids without the support of the motorsports community. Events Like Monticello and Lime Rock create a fantastic opportunity for enthusiasts to hang out and drive with some great Pro drivers in the low key setting of a track day.”
The next event for Guardian Angel Motorsports is on October 16th at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, an unmuffled VIP track day. Anyone interested in participating should contact Sheehan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently Sheehan is challenging for third place in the TA2 points standings with five races left in the year. His expectations for the year and the charity remain high:
“I have high expectations for myself, my team and the Trans Am series. I am pleased with our accomplishments so far. I’m having a great time and I’m truly lucky to be apart of this. Racing with the Wheels America team is fantastic, they’ve put together a great program and it’s even better to be seeing our hard work pay off. I was ecstatic to get a second place finish on the podium at the Glen and hopefully there’s more to come.”
With the results of the 2012 Trans Am Series still uncertain, one thing is clear: Tom Sheehan is dedicated to far more than simply winning. He’s set on making the world a better place for children, one lap at a time.