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A number of roads are closed or have limited access today for the Thunder Bay Marathon. Do you believe hosting events such as the marathon are worth the occasional traffic disruption?

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2014-04-26 at 6:00 PM

Spirit races on

By Matt Vis,
St. Joseph FoundationGrand A Day Draw tickets are now on sale. $1,000 daily draws in November. Grand Prize draw is for $10,000. License #M738339Click Here

THUNDER BAY -- Even after passing away nearly two years ago, the spirit of Danny Dawson lives on.

His legacy is still felt at the annual Virtual Sprint Car Invitational at the Westfort Prosvita, where the eighth annual edition of the event was held on Saturday.

Dawson came up with the idea for the fundraiser with Greg Wakewich, who owned the simulators as part of his business.

Despite passing away in 2012, his wife Gayle says there are still times when she feels like he is present.

“We call it a little bit of Danny D magic. There’s always something that’s breaking, pausing or something funny happening and we’ll say there he is,” she said.

“This is what brings everybody together. You will never find a truer or more solid group of people, it’s a big family.”

Since the inaugural edition, the event has raised an estimated $50,000 for brain injury services as well as towards the Working the Legacy: Danny Dawson Ink Foundation.

The event features drivers taking to the sprint car simulators and taking laps around a dirt track in heats and a semifinal round before prizes are up for grabs in the main event.

Zachary Roy was a former student of Dawson’s at Sir Winston Collegiate and Vocational Institute and learned many lessons from him first as a teacher, and then as a man after they became close friends.

Along with having a good sense of humour, Roy learned to always try to lend a helping hand and to roll with life’s punches.

“I really learned how to deal with tight situations properly and not just lose your head over things and just keeping your cool. He was really good at that,” Roy said.

The foundation provides assistance to youth aspiring towards careers as automotive technicians or other trades that can sometimes fly under the radar.

“It helps a lot when someone can stand behind you and say we’ll help you go further in life,” Roy said.

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