By Carla Howatt
For 14-year-old Blake Tourangeau, the 2011 NHRDA Canadian Nationals Diesel Drag Race at Castrol Raceway will be a day to look back on with excitement and awe.
It was there he had an opportunity few people get – to ride in the passenger seat of Smokin Gun, a 1968 Canadian Kenworth Diesel Pro Rig, while it burns up the track.
Tourangeau had his opportunity thanks to an association with the Make A Wish Foundation and JBs Power Centre.
He showed up thinking he was going to sit in the Make a Wish Foundation’s box and watch some drag racing, but when he asked if there was any chance he could go for a ride, well, the wheels started turning.
Before long, he was donning a fire suit and helmet and climbing into the passenger seat of Canada’s fastest big rig truck – a twin turbo, supercharged and intercooled 3,100 horsepower, 10,000 pound piece of machinery. “It was hot,” Tourangeau says of the experience. “I had to wear a suit and I had to wear a helmet and little yellow things, earplugs.”
For his mother Jen, her son’s experience was more than just about a truck ride, “It is nice to see him with a smile on his face,” she explains. “Taken away from the day to day stuff of worrying and health.”
JB’s Power Centre supports the Make a Wish Foundation in an effort to help those less fortunate and was able to raise more than $5,000 through their 50/50 draw at the event.
The kids who benefit are people like Blake who get to experience life in ways they never imagined “I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” he enthused. “It was a good day.”