Vets and first responders find friends in Battle Scarred Motorsports

By J.A. Ackley
Jan 23, 2024 | 24 Hours of Lemons, ChampCar, Lucky Dog Racing League, veterans, Battle Scarred Motorsports | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photograph Courtesy Battle Scarred Motorsports

War wounds, visible and more often invisible. A lack of structure, a lack of mission. Seemingly endless government bureaucracy. These issues often take center stage among the many problems veterans face–and rightfully so. However, there’s one more issue that often flies under the radar. It’s what Battle Scarred Motorsports seeks to address.

I can’t tell you how many veterans I talked with who are just lonely,” says Charlie Adams, Raceday Coordinator for the organization. “The people they talk with can’t really relate to what their experiences were. When you get lonely and bored, typically good things don’t happen. We’re trying to bring them out of that. We give them an opportunity to reestablish a network of likeminded people who have had similar experiences and who care.”

Charlie served in the Navy for six years. The founders of Battle Scarred Motorsports, Brian Czech and Brian Fennel, were in the United States Marine Corps. The organization consists of many veterans and first responders who know what it’s like to put their lives at stake to serve others.

Charlie Adams.

The non-profit organization has chapters in five states–Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas–and a fleet of 12 cars. Its 2024 schedule consists of 16 events across the U.S. among three sanctions: 24 Hours of Lemons, ChampCar and Lucky Dog.

Veterans, first responders and civilians alike are welcome to participate, from cleaning the car to getting behind the wheel. To race, civilians pay about $1650 per race, veterans and first responders $1000. With more donations, the organizations aims to significantly reduce that fee for vets and first responders.

With civilian racers, we’re up front,” Charlie explains. “We say, ‘Your seat fee essentially subsidizes a seat fee for a veteran or first responder, to bring down their cost and fulfill our mission.’ [Civilians] often bring more to the table, because they are experienced racers, too. They bring racecraft and knowledge of the tracks and they coach the [less experienced veterans and first responders].”

If you’re a vet or a first responder with no experience, but want to race, that’s no problem. However, the team will want to work with you first. “For the guys who have never wheel-to-wheel raced or we have never met them, we encourage them to come out, crew for us … hang out and meet everybody,” says Charlie. “We’ve had folks strapped into cars before and say, ‘I can’t do this.’ You just don’t know until you get into the car.”

Not everyone can be a pilot–and that’s okay. You can crew for Battle Scarred Motorsports, too. “Some guys find they like the wrenching part more than the racing part,” Charlie says. “We had a retired marine and he was just in the corner, with nothing to do. He wasn’t much of a mechanic. He wasn’t very social. He didn’t want to race. I said [to him], ‘You got a truck, I’ll send these other two guys with you if you can drive them over to the gas station to get some fuel for us.’ He was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ That was his thing. Everybody will find a place. It’s just like the military–everybody has something to do.”

Loneliness. Yes, Battle Scarred Motorsports won’t let that happen while in their company.

We love to race,” says Charlie. “But it’s also a love to serve that community, whether it’s a fireman, a police officer, an EMT or a military veteran. It’s that desire to give them safe place to be a part of a family and something bigger.”

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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/24/24 10:50 a.m.

I'm not going to try and act like I understand what it's like to be a vet or a first responder, but any organization helping to prevent people from going to a dark place is honorable in my book. Bonus points because it's getting more people to play with cars. yes

CrazyTedVB New Reader
2/6/24 8:56 p.m.

I can personal bear witness to what this program can do.  I started out on an ambulance in about 1986 or 87.  Later I also joined the local fire company.  I started working as a communications officer for two different local PD's.  I ran rescue and fire in NJ, then PA, and then eventually moved to VA where again, I ran rescue.  I was hired by my city in 1994 as a police officer and I continued to run rescue.  I worked hard and was very good at catching the really bad guys.  I've seen, smelled, and done things no other human should have to do.  During my career I was shot at, stabbed, attacked with all nature of blunt objects and fought many people.  I was injured multiple times.  In 2005, I was hit by a drunk driver while on duty.  That impact caused a traumatic brain injury.  Since that time I have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, visual somatosensory vestibular mismatch, C-PTSD, anxiety, and depression among other things.  I read on Facebook about Battle Scarred Motorsports and reached out.  I was able to attend Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama for this past Lemons event.   Man that's a long drive from Virginia.  The chapter of the team that attended this event was from Georgia.  The folks on the team welcomed me in like I was a long lost friend.  I was there to crew for the team.  I was able to help a little get the car ready for tech.  The next day would be race day.  I was the gas man for the fuel stops and driver change stops.  I really enjoyed the experience with the team and being at Lemons.  I look forward to the next time I can participate with them at an event.  Maybe sometime I'll save up the money to drive.  It seems once your a first responder and get hurt, you're throw away as useless.  You do end up alone with no place to turn.  It becomes a very dark place and is very lonely.  I'm glad there of groups like Battle Scarred Motorsports who will step up and help!!!

Ted Marriner

Retired, Master Police Officer

City of Virginia Beach, VA


Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/8/24 8:19 a.m.

I looked and there are two races in Ohio this year, reached out about volunteering

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