Oakville’s Neighborhood Policing Officer Dan Schroeder will be driving up to 80 mph in a competition stock car race in July. It will also be his first time in a racecar, ever.
Just finishing the race is an accomplishment. The cars travel 30 laps around a dirt track while frequently hitting and rubbing against other.
Practicing is near impossible before the race, due to the expense of renting time on a track and the differences in tracks.
"There’s a big difference between driving on dirt and driving on pavement," Schroeder said. "It’s softer and there’s less traction and you slide a lot more since it’s a dirt track."
Across the state, police departments are holding races for charities such as the Special Olympics and Backstoppers, Inc.
when Capt. Michael Dierkes from the Affton-Southwest Precinct organized a car and team that competed in races in Springfield and the Lake of the Ozarks. That year, the races donated more than $60,000 to charity.
“This year, Dierkes wanted an additional race car and asked me to do it,” Schroeder said.
The captain also recruited Jeff Kriska, a school resource officer in the Affton Precinct. Kriska has racing experience and takes over for Sgt. Dave Ryan, who competed in 2011 for the South County Precinct.
The crew has its first race July 23 at the Lake Ozark Speedway benefitting the Special Olympics. Locally, the team is scheduled to race on Sept. 8 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely. The race will benefit the Backstoppers, Inc., a nonprofit organization that assists families of first responders who have been killed while on duty.
The officers use sponsorships from local businesses to transform old taxis and police cars into the dirt stock cars.
Mike Christiansen donates time and materials into restoring the cars and serves in the team’s pit crew.
To learn more about a car sponsorship, contact Schroeder at DSchroeder@stlouisco.com.