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Roseville drivers race for their cause

Nationwide team raises awareness for volunteer firefighters
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Jim Board was a young driver from California, competing in a regular race when a horrible accident occurred.

The impact crushed his right leg and caused a large amount of blood to leave his body. By most accounts, his life would have ended, but a volunteer safety crew had other ideas.

That safety and rescue team, which quickly and successfully transported Board to a hospital, inspired the founding of his non-profit organization, United States Fire Department Racing.

“It’s something that I’ll never forget,” Board said. “So I thought it was a good time to found a team that’s always been there for me.”

USFD honors firemen and women and brings awareness to volunteer fire departments and rescue squads that depend on donations for their units to function.

Two full-time Roseville firefighters, Jim Mrozinski and Troy Nogosek, will race together for the USFD tonight at All American Speedway in Roseville. This is a rare combination for the two, who race in separate divisions, Mrozinski in Legends of the Pacific and Nogosek in Modified.

“We’re almost like brothers,” Nogosek said. “We’re going to be on the same track, and that’s one of those special days that don’t come very often.”

Both started as volunteers before moving on to full-time jobs as firemen. They serve the USFD’s primary function of bringing awareness to the volunteers around the nation. Fans who stop by their pits tonight can receive a handout on the USFD and volunteer firefighters.

“The cool thing is that we’ll be getting the message out twice as much,” Mrozinski said. “It doesn’t matter which league we’re in. We’re a team, and that’s what really matters.”

According to Board, 73 percent of all firefighters are volunteers. Those volunteers have full-time jobs in addition to being firefighters and still contribute to the community. The organization doesn't take donations but encourages communities to be active in helping their volunteer services.

“It’s an opportunity to help educate about volunteers,” Mrozinski said. “Make people aware of how many volunteers there really are.”

Nogosek, who will make his season debut tonight in a new car, has been racing for seven years. He sparked Mrozinski’s interest in the team. Mrozinski began volunteering in 1986, Nogosek in 1992. Both have served for Rocklin and Roseville stations.

“The best part is that we’re bringing awareness to all the fire departments out there,” Nogosek said. “It recognizes what the volunteers do. They have full-time jobs but still come out and help the community.”

ALL AMERICAN SPEEDWAY

What: NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (Late Model, Modified, Street Stock, Bomber, Legends of the Pacific)
When: Saturday. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6.
Ticket prices: Adults, $13; Seniors 60 and over and juniors 6-15, $7; family pass (two adults, three juniors), $35; children 5 and under, free. Parking costs $5 per vehicle.
Information: (916) 786-2025 or www.allamericanspeedway.com.