EGR HOSTS GEAR HEADS GOLF TOURNAMENT
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, NASCAR community raising funds to help cancer-stricken crewmen
Monday, Oct 22, 2012
By Bob Pockrass
The Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teams have had a difficult season on the track.
It’s been difficult off the track, too, as two of its longtime employees are battling pancreatic cancer—fabricator Monty Grice and Jamie McMurray road crewman Sammy Gonzalez.
They both are receiving treatment in Philadelphia, and when the team wanted to help raise money for their expenses, it decided that a golf tournament would be the best way to go.
The Gear Heads Golfing to Wreck Cancer event will be held Thursday at Mallard Head Golf Course in Mooresville, N.C.
Most of the spots in the golf tournament were filled quickly.
“It’s just a testament not only to our organization but the NASCAR family as a whole,” McMurray crew chief Kevin Manion said. “The first race we thought about just selling lug nuts for a buck apiece on pit road at Bristol, the Joe Gibbs group brought over 200 dollars basically from lug nuts that they sold saying, ‘This is for Sammy and Monty.’
“That moved me. … It’s really kind of cool that the whole community came together for this event. It opens the eyes to me and everyone at our shop to do more.”
Manion has done his best to keep Gonzalez part of the team, having him call into team meetings and bringing him to Dover for a day during the race weekend.
“They’re both deep-hearted racers and deep hard-core workers and both very strong-willed,” Manion said. “They have a strong faith background.”
This is the second bout with pancreatic cancer for Grice. Their absence from the team has been felt emotionally as well as in workload.
“It’s definitely impacted the shop,” said EGR’s Gary Putnam, who has worked with both Grice and Gonzalez for several years at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and now at EGR. “Sammy did so much as far as interiors and wiring, not only here at the racetrack but at the shop, it has taken two guys to fill that position.
“Monty has built all our chassis since we merged (four years ago). Another two guys had to replace him. Everybody is pitching in to help.”