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(Left to right) Ron Steger - R.A.D. President, Bill Lester - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver, Eric Saunders-champion motocross rider, Thomas O'Connell-Assistant Secretary of Defense, Justin Allgaier-ARCA Series driver WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28) -- This past month, several members of the racing community participated in Race Against Drugs program during the 13th annual National Red Ribbon Week Celebration at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Special invitations were given to NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester, ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Justin Allgaier and motocross champion Eric Saunders to help promote awareness of the Race Against Drugs program. Allgaier is the 17-year-old son Mike and Dorothy Allgaier of Hoosier Tire Midwest in Springfield (IL) and Saunders is the 11-year-old son of Irish and Sheila Saunders. Irish is the Manager of Contract Sales with Hoosier Racing Tire in Lakeville, IN. The event was held inside the Pentagon in the interior courtyard for the 23,000 individuals that work inside the country's security epicenter. The racers and their equipment--which included a boat, a stock car, a race truck and a motorcycle, were on hand for the special ceremony. The participants signed autographs and had their pictures taken to help raise awareness of our country's fight to keep young people drug-free.

Thomas O'Connell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations and low- intensity conflict, commented during the ceremony, "Drugs pose an enormous threat to our national security. U.S. service members and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians are fighting against worldwide threats, including drugs, to keep our homeland secure." 

O'Connell explained, "The department also works with civilian efforts such as Race Against Drugs. By joining forces with civilian anti-drug initiatives, DoD accomplishes more in the fight against drugs and is thankful for all of the achievements these programs have made." Race Against Drugs was founded in 1989 by Ron Steger, who was also in attendance at the Pentagon event. Race Against Drugs promotes the message of staying drug-free to the people in our communities. 

Steger stated, "Racing is an exciting sport that's a great venue to market the fight against drugs. Racers can only be high on adrenaline and cannot use any substance of any kind that impairs their ability."

When asked of his experience 11-year-old Eric Saunders had this to say, "Being asked to participate in such an important program like Race Against Drugs was a great honor. I was really proud to represent the sport of motocross racing at our nation's capitol." Simply put Saunders said, "I don't want kids doing drugs."

Saunders continued, "Our whole family got to make the trip to Washington D.C. and we also got to do some sight-seeing while we were there. We even got a tour of the US Capitol where, I bet you didn't know the Statue of Liberty can fit inside the rotunda with a foot and a half to spare!" 

While we didn't know that, we do know that the entire Hoosier organization is proud of Eric and Justin for their participation in the Race Against Drugs program. Eric is sponsored by another Indiana native, 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart through Tony Stewart Racing. 

The Department of Defense posted a story on their website covering the festivities in the Pentagon courtyard. You can click here to read that story: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2003/n10282003_2003102812.html A story also appeared in the local paper (The South Bend Tribune) on Eric's trip to the Pentagon. You can read this story by clicking here: http://www.southbendtribune.com/stories/2003/10/30/local.20031030-sbt-FULL-D7-Setting_the_pace.sto. The ARCA RE/MAX Series also did a story on Justin Allgaier and the Pentagon trip on their website. This story can be read by clicking here: http://www.arcaracing.com/Remax/allgaierpentagon03.html. Needless to say, there are a lot of people and organizations proud of Eric and Justin on their trip to Washington.


Additional Photos From The Pentagon
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Attendees honoring the United States flag

Eric Saunders and Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell posing behind Eric's Suzuki motocross bike.

Justin Allgaier joined by the "Young Marines" in front of his #86 Justin Time Racing stcok car.


Eric Saunders addressing the crowd as Race Against Drugs President Ron Steger listens with interest.

Justin Allgaier's Hoosier Tire Midwest ARCA Series stock car with the Race Against Drugs decal on the hood.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell (left) and Justin Allgaier share a laugh and a handshake while posing for a photo.


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