Another Chapter

Lakeland, FL - Another chapter is waiting to be written for Dylan Martin in his racing journey. Dylan starts the 2017 season with optimism that he will have many new challenges to face and find success in a new class this coming season. In an unexpected turn, the #7 Blackwater Integration Super Late Model has found a new home as Dylan has acquired a Open Wheel Modified in its place in the garage.

He has brought on a new challenge in a new class. Dylan is tearing the Open Wheel Modified down to its chassis and rebuilding it. How best to know what you have in a newly acquired car, but to tear it down and rebuild it yourself, bolt-by-bolt. Dylan is excited about the task he's taken on and is looking forward to seeing the progression of the car from the rails to the track. He hasn't driven in this class before but he is anxious to get behind the wheel and continue to improve his driving skills in yet another class.

While Dylan is rebuilding the OWM, he's keeping his skills sharp on the track by crewing for his brother, Brandon Martin. This past weekend, Brandon got behind the wheel of his Sportsman for the first time at Auburndale Speedway. Dylan was there to crew and spot for Brandon. They spent many hours over the past several weeks putting the Sportsman together and getting it to the track along with Patrick Rickman, Dave Coulprit, Chad Pierce, Michael Martin and others. Brandon brought home a top 10 finish in his first Sportsman race. Dylan may not have been behind the wheel, but he was attentive to the car and was able to dial the car in to something Brandon could wheel for the first time. The 50 laps brought on challenges that both driver and crew chief had to be quick on their feet to overcome. It was a side of the car that Dylan's not seen much of (outside the car), but there is so much to learn in the racing industry that every aspect of the sport is important. This gives Dylan a chance to remember input from the driver is important so the crew chief can make the best decision for the driver. It will improve his communications with his crew chief in the future. Always improving is the name of the sport. Dylan can't sit still very long -- building the OWM and crewing for Brandon will definitely keep him busy while the search for a sponsor for a Camping World Truck ride is found. Dylan has great aspirations and he's definitely going to keep striving to improve in every area he can so when he does drive that first Camping World Truck race, he'll be as sharp as he can.

From Kim Scheffler - Hello everyone, I would like to introduce you to Gianna. On January 4th, this precious child was in a car accident that changed her families lives. The car her mother, Victoria was driving was t-boned with the impact hitting at the rear passenger door where 4 year old Gianna was sitting in her car seat. She suffered severe brain trauma and injury to her neck and spine. Two days later, Gianna had surgery to have a halo put on. This will help her injuries heal. She is doing better everyday. Just a few days ago she spoke her first words since the accident, "Mommy, I want ice cream". Typical child response but music to her parents, Victoria and Anthony.

I am proud to formally announce that little Miss Gianna is one of our 2017 CARS Racin' For A Dream, Inc. Kids. She has a long road in front of her and everyone here at CARS are anxious to be a part of her journey. When I met her parents the other day at Tampa General, they were so gracious and appreciative that Gianna was asked to be one of our kids. With tears in her eyes, Gianna's mother, Victoria said this, "Gianna being a CARS kid is an absolute blessing and our family couldn't be more thankful! The amount of love, support and prayers the community has already shown us is so overwhelmingly touching and heartwarming it really boosts our faith in that everything will be ok. I believe her progress has a lot to do with that. The power of Prayer is amazing and so is God. With Him and everyone's help I have no doubt my baby will be back to her wild, crazy and sweet self, faster than we imagined. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!"

From Kim Scheffler - Welcome Miss Kaitlynn to our 2017 CARS Kids family. She is a 16 year old student at Polk State Chain of Lakes School. This very studious beautiful young lady had her life changed last month when she had surgery on her back. Kaitlynn has Scheuermann's disease (it is a self-limiting skeletal disorder of childhood). She was dealing with multiple issues with her back. Her kyphotic curvature was 80 degrees (average is 20 degree) add in scoliosis, bulging discs and nerve damage due to the curvature and this is just the beginning. Kaitlynn suffered extreme chest pains due to the chest cavity being compressed from her posture. She was experiencing tingling and numbness in her arms and legs, headaches along with severe back pain. All this lead her to the operating table on 12-6-16 at Arnold Palmer. Just so you have a visual of the punishing condition she was in, she came off the operating table a whole 3 inches taller.

Kaitlynn then went home to finish recovering and start physical therapy. Two weeks later she was rushed back to the hospital for an infection and other issues. But unfortunately this was not the end to her bad luck. On January 8th the hardware broke breaking two vertebrae's. Kaitlynn was back to Arnold Palmer on January the 24th for yet another surgery to repair and add a cross rod to connect the two rods that run the length of her spine. When I went to tell Kaitlynn about CARS wanting her to be one of our kids this year, this is how she replied. "I had the opportunity to help with a few different CARS Kids fundraisers last year, not thinking I, myself would be a CARS Kid in the future. I am thankful for the support and looking forward to helping the other past, present and future CARS Kids. Thank you for selecting me", stated Kaitlynn. This doesn't sound like your typical teenager only days after yet another back surgery, but once you meet her you will realize that she is anything but typical. This courageous young spirited girl is not happy about missing school. All she thinks about are the college classes she is missing. Oh and yes I said earlier she is only sixteen.

The good news is she is now back home with her mother, Jessica and two brothers, Logan and Kody. Kaitlynn has a rough road ahead of her but everyone here at CARS Racin' For A Dream hope to make that a bit easier on her. We are a local charity doing what we can to aid in bringing smiles and laughter to local kids and families facing difficult times.

This year CARS will be focusing on helping these two incredible and amazing kids...Kaitlynn and Gianna. If you want to follow their journeys make sure to like our Facebook page or go to our website,

Welcome and God bless you both!

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