Greensboro, N.C.–National Hot Rod Association Driver Troy Coughlin Jr., who pilots Kalitta Motorsports’ SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster, will visit the boys and young men of the Greensboro Build Something Mentor Program Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. at the Bryan Family YMCA. Coughlin wants to meet them before they turn out for the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) 4-wides to cheer him on at ZMAX Dragway in Concord. “I am excited to join the group on Wednesday and represent SealMaster in this capacity,” he says. “It is an awesome cause and it creates a great culture for these young men to learn a lot about life. I am jacked to be there.”
As a reward for the self-motivation of the program’s participants, they and some of their coaches will be VIP guests of SealMaster owner Bob Krebs Saturday, April 29. “We’re very grateful to Bob for this opportunity to get the kids out,” says Alexis Underwood, who founded and established Build Something in January 2016. “I’m very grateful to the Bryan Family YMCA, too, for allowing to use the space (to conduct the program).”
Underwood made the decision to create the program because he saw a need. “There’s a lot of negativity going on in society,” he says. “I wanted to help raise the standard of what I was seeing through my 17 years’ experience in mental health.” Core components of the program center on physical fitness and healthy lifestyle living, learning opportunities, community service and the availability of an adult sounding board composed of adult coaches who serve as positive role models. The group meets every Saturday, starting out with a prayer, after which a guest speaker shares wisdom. They work out for 45 minutes then have open gym. They close the evening with a discussion on speaker. Topics include financial education and budgeting, etiquette, even how to tie a tie, among others. “Things men need to learn,” notes Underwood. Speakers can be program coaches, members of the clergy or community organizations—anyone who has a valuable lesson to share.
“The hook is the workout,” says Underwood of attracting participants. “That’s what the kids come for. They get really excited about that.” Boys and young men in the program, ages 9 to 18, are motivated by getting or staying in shape, whether for personal fitness or to give them an edge in a sport. A lot of them are athletes.
Athleticism is encouraged although not required of the adult volunteers, including some of the participants’ fathers, who assist with the program. Athletes of the Elon College Football team have volunteered well. “They learn a lot too,” Underwood says of the collegians.
Krebs and Underwood are neighbors, which is how Krebs learned about Build Something and put plans for the outing in motion about a year ago. “It’s about giving back to the community. WE at SealMaster have this opportunity to take people to the NHRA races. We have been taking our customers.
Why not take these kids to experience something positive they’ve never seen? They’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.” The SealMaster franchise system partners with Kalitta Motorsports fielding the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster piloted by Coughlin. It also partners with the NHRA as the title sponsor of the SealMaster Track Walk, which takes place the morning of the final day of competition. Part of the boys’ and VIP treatment will include motor coach transportation to the event and access to Kalitta Motorsports’ hospitality, which includes complimentary lunch, beverages and a place to take comfortable breaks in the shade during the all-day affair of bracket racing.
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About the Build Something Mentor Program
The Build Something Mentor Program is a non-profit entity founded in January 2016 by Alexis Underwood. It’s mission is to provide young males, ages 9-18, with a mentor relationship and group activities that build emotional bonds, enhance social skills, and affirm the importance of education. The program aims to help participants define their identity and sense of self, develop healthy personal relationships and connect with the community around them. The program places emphasis on spiritual, health and physical fitness. Every session begins prayer, guest speaker, exercise, weight training and health and nutrition education. Mentors provide guidance on education, money management, career development, etiquette, manners, leadership development, and strong family values.
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta fields five full-time entries in the NHRA Mello Yello nitro classes. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster; Auto Club Road to the Future candidate Troy Coughlin, Jr. drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster; former Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon is the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel Dragster; J.R. Todd is the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. Connie Kalitta serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Nicky Boninfante and Tommy DeLago on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car and Rob Flynn on the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel dragster. Jim Oberhofer leads the efforts on both the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster. He is assisted by Troy Fasching on the Mac Tools dragster and Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Global Electronic Technology, JEGS, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, SPY Optic, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota, WIX Filters and Ziebart