The raceway in Sonoma and its fans helped local blood banks hit the jackpot on Tuesday as nearly 100 people donated blood at the raceway’s 12th annual High-Speed Blood Drive.
The raceway partnered with the American Red Cross and the Blood Centers of the Pacific on the drive, which generated 98 total pints of blood.
Since 2001, the High-Speed Blood Drive has generated nearly 1,100 pints of blood for the American Red Cross and area blood banks.
There was an extra treat for all donors on Tuesday: a high-speed lap around the 12-turn road course in a race-modified Toyota Camry with a professional instructor from the Simraceway Performance Driving Center.
"I've been coming out for four years and I really enjoy helping out this great cause," said Rodeo's George Scollard. "The kicker is getting the hot lap. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever done."
The summer is typically a slow time for blood banks, but the need for blood is even higher than usual this year. A spike in natural disasters triggered a shortage of blood drives, and now, the Red Cross, which supplies 40 percent of the nation’s blood, is at a 15-year low.
"I've enjoyed coming out and giving blood," said Fairfield's Casey Wright. "I usually donate a few times each year and this is one I like to come out to because I get the hot lap. The lap is a lot of fun."