GHS, Brunswick & King Teens Unite Against Distracted Driving at Grand Prix NY

By Leslie Yager and Sadie Smith, Greenwich Academy class of 2018

Paraco

Joseph Armentano, CEO of Paraco Gas, celebrates a successful fundraiser for Project Yellow Light at Grand Prix New York in Mt. Kisco, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

Dozens of teens from Greenwich public and private schools enjoyed a night of safe go-kart racing at Grand Prix New York in Mt. Kisco on Friday night. The event has become an tradition since Ben Albano (GHS 2014) had the idea four years ago.

The race was a benefit for Project Yellow Light, a scholarship competition that raises awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Over $8,000 was raised from the $100 registration for each team, plus additional donations from families, friends and sponsors in the community.

This year, in addition to go-kart racing, supporters of Project Yellow Light had the option of a night of bowling.

Teams included students from Greenwich High School, Brunswick School, and King School. And next year, the organizers anticipate that even more schools will be represented as Project Yellow Light clubs gain momentum.

bowling at Grand Prix

At Grand Prix New York, the Project Yellow Light fundraiser included bowling. Elizabeth Fina, Maggie Montague, Erin Montague, Kellie Montague, Sam Murphy and Megan Fina. April 22, 2016 Credit: Sadie Smith

At the end of the race, Joseph Armentano, CEO of Paraco, a company that delivers propane gas, presented a check to the event organizers including Addison Albano, Austen Albano, Quentin McDermott, Will Jeffery and Maggie Montague.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 7.40.03 AMAlso, the event benefited from sponsorship of Ben Albano Racing, Paraco Gas, Aux Delices, Teddy’s Transportation System, Petro and Fresh Green Light, with Paraco Gas as the primary sponsor.

“We stepped it up this year to become the lead sponsors of the fundraiser going forward,” said Mr. Armentano. “Obviously this issue of texting while driving is at the forefront, especially for new drivers.”

Paraco employs 400 and and has 170 trucks on the road.

Mr. Armentano said that earlier in the week, he had spoken with Julie Garner, the founder of Project Yellow Light.  Garner launched Project Yellow Light  as a legacy to her son Hunter who died in 2007 at the age of 16.

The organization launched a short film scholarship competition created to honor Hunter and to put a stop to the number-one killer of teens and young adults in America: car crashes.

“I could tell how passionate she was about the project,” Armentano said of Garner. “They did a good job to connect us emotionally to the project.”

Paraco’s Robert Miccarelli said it is critical that the company’s drivers stay focused. “Safety comes before profits, and distractions can come in the form of text messages, but it could be anything,” he said. “It could be googling or checking directions.”

#17 #17 Pat Murphy

Lucky #17 driven by Pat Murphy. Credit Sadie Smith

At first glance, go-kart racing might not seem the best way to convey an anti-distracted driving message. With so many rules, color flags to memorize and potential penalties for error, the course is fraught with distractions.

But the intense experience of the race track actually drives home the point. The hope is the intense concentration behind the wheel will leave something of a muscle memory.

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Winners on the podium. Credit: Leslie Yager

1st place: Passover Pre Game
-Andrew Israel
– Ryan Callaghan
-Alex Kutner

2nd: Five Guys
-Quentin McDermott
– Nick Blum
– Tommy Napolitano
– Nate Skolds

3rd: Team Stella
– Connor Wakeman
– Charlie Berger
– Graham Pierce

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Ready to race at Grand Prix NY April 22, 2016 Credit: Sadie Smith

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Sarah Gold and Olivia Winn. Credit Sadie Smith

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Steven Fong and Leland Graham Grand Prix New York in Mt. Kisco. Credit: Sadie Smith

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Quentin McDermott, Will Jeffery, Paraco CEO Joseph Armentano, Addison Albano, Austen Albano and Maggie Montague celebrate the the sponsorship of their anti-distracted driving fundraiser at Grand Prix New York, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Credit: Sadie Smith

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Kim, Will and Mary Jeffery at Grand Prix New York, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

Kim, Will and Mary Jeffery at Grand Prix New York, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Kelly Albano, Jeannene McMurchy and Brittany Albano at Grand Prix New York for the Project Yellow Light fundraiser, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Addison, Brittany and Austen Albano at Grand Prix New York for the Project Yellow Light fundraiser. The event was the created four years ago by their older brother Ben Albano, a successful race car driver who had more concerns driving around Greenwich High School than driving a race car around the track. Credit: Leslie Yager

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From Debra Ponzek’s Aux Delices, a cake decorated with the Project Yellow Light theme. April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Joshua Lewis, Santi Silvani and Alex Knorr, all from the King School. April 2, 2016 Credit: Sadie Smith

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Sponsors from Paraco Gas, Robert Miccarelli and Joseph Armentano at Grand Prix NY on April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Go-Kart racers get a safety talk before jumping in their cars at Grand Prix New York, April. 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Teams of 2-5 drivers participated in the go-kart race to raise funds for Project Yellow Light on April 22,2 016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Ready for the go-kart race to raise funds for Project Yellow Light on April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Greenwich Academy sophomore Sadie Smith and Brittany Albano at Grand Prix NY, April 22, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

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Mary Beth and Maggie Montague ready for some bowling at Grand Prix NY, April 22, 2016 Credit: Sadie Smith

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Grand Prix NY is located at 333 N. Bedford Road in Mt. Kisco. Tel. (914) 358-3600

See also:

PHOTOS: Project Yellow Light Fundraiser at Grand Prix Keeps Eyes Focused on the Road 

Greenwich High School Teens Learn through Simulated Driving the Perils of Distracted Driving

Teens from Greenwich High School, Brunswick and King Organize a Race to Raise Awareness of Distracted Driving

Powerful Messages about Drunk & Distracted Driving at GHS Safe Driving Day


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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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