Notre Dame 8th grader’s racing campaign for veterans well underway

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While many kids currently in school are looking forward to summer vacation, one student in the 8th grade at Notre Dame’s middle school looks forward to a full summer of car racing with a big effort to raise money for wounded military veterans.

Logan Wenneshiemer will only be a freshman in high school when the new term opens in the fall, but he's already had enough car-racing experience under his belt to rival some Nascar drivers.

For more than eight years, Wenneshiemer has raced on the Mini (Micro Outlaw) Sprint circuit. His mini-sprint car, which has a Fighting Irish motif and paint job, features a 636CC Suzuki super-bike motorcycle engine that is methanol fuel injected and can hit speeds of up to 140 MPH on a 3/8-mile dirt course. 

Last weekend, Wenneshiemer raced at a track he’s never driven on before for a "Salute to the Troops" race in Indiana. He came from behind 22 cars at the green flag to finish 7th at race end. This weekend, he is racing two different tracks in Indiana: US-24 Speedway in Logansport, and Miami County Speedway in Peru. 

But it’s not just winning races that has Wenneshiemer on the road so often with his no. 66 car. It’s also his passion for helping U.S. military veterans — especially those who returned from war with serious injuries such traumatic brain injury and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) — through Paws and Stripes, a nonprofit charity that helps provide service dogs to disabled veterans.

“We are donating a large percentage of race earnings as well as a percentage of our other Intense Racing fundraising efforts to Paws and Stripes,” Wenneshiemer said. “We are very passionate about the work they do.”

The dogs provided by Paws and Stripes are specially trained by volunteers who make sure that each dog is a good fit for each veteran and their specific and special needs. 

“Veterans are never obligated to pay a penny of the program's cost to enroll,” Wenneshiemer said. “The program is funded completely through donations and we are glad to be a part of it”

Wenneshiemer's efforts for Paws and Stripes this year have been exciting, according to his mom, Angela. “This past month, he started ‘project 6,’ a 6-month campaign, with one project each month, to try to raise $60,000,” she said. “The team announces each project on the first of each month and an online donation registry for his cause has been created to make it easier to give.” She said those who wish to donate can do so online at: justgive.org/intenseracing66.

Angela also said Logan’s racing team is having their annual Intense Racing Golf and Clay outing on June 5 at the Beacon Hill Country Club in Commerce Township. “Last year we raised $12,000,” she said. “And this year, we will be donating proceeds to Paws and Stripes.”

According to mom, Logan has races planned for every weekend through October at tracks in Indiana, Illinois and Oklahoma. 

Sounds like one busy summer for Logan — but one indeed for a great cause.

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.

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