|By Chris Maza|
WILBRAHAM – Shortly after Justin Tracy got the keys and title to his mother’s 1995 Honda Accord, he made a promise that, even to this day, he is focused on keeping.
Tracy’s mother Kathy, known by family and friends as “Keeker,” was in a battle for her life with cancer when she passed the car on to him and he decided it could be his way to help.
It was then that he devised plans to transform what had been the family’s everyday driver into a 10-second drag racer to raise money for his mother’s treatments as well as for the Cancer Research Institute. It was then that Project Keeker was born.
Despite high hopes and best efforts, Keeker never got to see her son race as she succumbed to stage 3 breast cancer, which had metastasized in her bones, lung, liver, retina and brain, on March 23.
But with his mother’s memory in mind, Tracy has continued the work of Project Keeker, determined to finish re-modeling the vehicle and getting it on the drag strip to raise money for cancer research and increase awareness.
“My mother passing has been hard, but our team has worked even harder to reach our goal to have her watch over us and be in our hearts and watch us finish in her name,” Tracy told Reminder Publications.
While a specific date for the car’s debut isn’t yet known, progress on the rebuild has been steady and evident he said, with work to the engine almost completed.
“The engine’s bottom end is just about complete; it just needs rods and bearings,” he said. “The head has been cleaned and disassembled and now it’s ready for the machine shop.”
A restoration of the interior of the car has also been done, with the exception of a roll cage, which still needs to be installed.
He added that new sponsorships have been a major help in moving the project forward, especially when it comes to the car’s exterior, thanks to Craig Stanek, a Hampden native and owner of OnPoint Connections in Enfield, Conn.
“Our newest No. 1 sponsor, OnPoint Connections has come aboard and offered a full paint job,” he said. “Also, Meadow Mist Farms of Wilbraham has come aboard to do our body work.”
Once completed, Tracy continued, the car will be painted in pink camouflage with cancer ribbon accents on the body panels.
While encouraged by the progress he and the Project Keeker team has made, more work needs to be done and therefore more support is needed.
“We are looking for more and more donations to help us get to our goal faster,” he said. “We are also looking for an enclosed trailer to store the car in for the cold seasons.”
Sweatshirts, T-shirts and stickers are also being sold to support the build.
Those interested in helping can contact the team through its new website, www.pkracing.org, its Facebook page (facebook.com/pkracing) or by calling 626-3560.
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