For the second consecutive season, Sheboygan Falls Sport Mod racer Brian Wieland donated all of his 2020 race winnings to Samaritan’s Hand in Sheboygan in support of addiction recovery efforts throughout Sheboygan County.
As a recovering addict, Wieland found himself driven to use his entry into the sport of dirt track racing in 2019 to benefit a cause larger than himself and the result was “Racing for Recovery” to benefit Samaritan’s Hand’s addiction recovery program.
The initial idea for “Racing for Recovery” formed seven years ago when Wieland sought to break free of the chains of addiction that had held him back for a large portion of life.
“The reason that I choose to donate my winnings to Samaritan’s Hand last year and again this year is because I am in recovery,” Wieland said. “I love what Samaritan’s Hand does in our community to help addicts and alcoholics recover. I know how difficult is to get sober and also how hard it is to run a successful recovery program. Resources are limited, residents are usually low on income and the community doesn’t always look at recovery in a positive manner.”
Despite having only very limited go-kart racing experience and no previous background in dirt-track racing, Wieland dove into the world of local short-track racing head first last and the result was a Rookie of the Year performance in the Plymouth Dirt Track Racing (PDTR) B Mod division and a 10th place finish in the final point standings.
For the 2020 racing season, Wieland stretched his racing legs to tackle a diverse schedule of events at six different tracks throughout the area and the Midwest.
“We decided to run a little different schedule this year,” Wieland said. “After securing the Rookie of the Year Award last year at PDTR, we knew we needed to race some different tracks against some tough competition to learn and grow in the sport. COVID-19 obviously changed a lot of what we wanted to do. With limited resources and personnel it proved to be a tough, but very fulfilling year.”
While COVID-19 did place a role in limiting Wieland’s racing efforts in 2020, he still was able to get in a fair share of racing, while also enjoying quite a bit of success.
“We raced at six different tracks around the Midwest including our first run at the IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa,” Wieland said. “Throughout the year, we captured three heat race wins, two B main wins and our first feature win, which came on August 22nd at the Plymouth Dirt Track.
“Overall, we were able to raise $1,490.00 from our winnings in 2020, which will be directly donated to Samaritan’s Hand,” he said. “In addition, Wheels Racing is also going to add an additional $510 to the winnings to bring the 2020 total donation to $2,000.”
After raising $6,709.30 for Samaritan’s Hand during his rookie season in 2019, COVID-19 restricted the number of extra fundraising events Wieland was able to organize for Samaritan’s Hand in 2020. However, he is still aiming to do one more important fundraising event before 2020 is over.
“Last year we were able to do a few events like brat fry and speaking events to help raise money for Samaritan’s Hand,” Wieland said. “With COVID-19 looming all year, we weren’t able to get out and do any fundraising events.
“I do plan to do a social event on November 13th, which marks my seventh year in recovery. My sobriety date is November 13th, 2013. I plan to run a fundraiser through Facebook on my Wheels Racing page for “Racing for Recovery” on that day where people can donate directly to Samaritan’s Hand. My goal is to raise an additional $1,000 to the cause. I think we should be able to exceed that goal.”
Wieland is highly thankful for the support of his sponsors in allowing him to carry out his “Racing for Recovery” mission.
“A huge thanks goes out to all of my sponsors, who make this important cause possible,” he said.
The sponsors for Wieland’s 18w “Racing for Recovery” effort include: Samaritan’s Hand, Van Horn Auto Group, Wheels Racing, LA Auto (Canada), Bank First National, Drake Dairy Inc., Wisconsin State Auto Auction, CLA, Mark Petrie Fabrication, Kelly Moss Road & Race, Platinum Restoration. VICCI Auctions. Small Town Big Family. New Vision Graphics and Mitchell Machine Transmission.”
Looking ahead to the 2021 racing season, Wieland is planning to continue his “Racing for Recovery” efforts at area dirt tracks.
“I do plan to continue my “Racing for Recovery” cause next year,” Wieland said. “I have purchased a new car and am looking forward to being super competitive for the 2021 season. If anyone would like to know about sponsorship opportunities or how they can help, they can contact me on Facebook at the Wheels Racing Inc. page. I encourage everyone to stay tuned for more details on the 2021 season.”