Son to help get his father up to speed on racetrack

August 16, 2004|By Fay Lande

Alexander John Jeffries of Ellicott City will crew for his father, Steve, on Labor Day weekend at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia.

Steve Jeffries, a computer specialist at Northrup Grumman, will be driving a Spec Racer Ford in the Sports Car Club of America's "Laps for Liberation" races.

Alex, 11, will help prep the car, set the tire pressures, do a bolt-check, torque the lug nuts, operate the stopwatch and check the oil and water.

He may wear a two-way radio as crew chief for his father in the qualifying races. He also will likely drive his go-kart in an autocross demonstration.

The Jeffries' team name, Cure CF Racing, is on the sides of its vehicles; the Ford and go-kart are nicknamed "65 roses," a symbol for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a beneficiary of the races.

Alex, who will enter sixth grade at Patapsco Middle School this month, was found to have cystic fibrosis just before his fourth birthday.

"It was total shock," Steve Jeffries said. "I remember the day that we found out. We had these problems, and my wife knew it. And she had done research on the Internet, and my wife said, `Hey, this sounds like cystic fibrosis.' So we went to the hospital and did the sweat test, and the test came out negative."

Cynthia Jeffries is a medical transcriptionist.

The disease was diagnosed when the family went to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a foundation-affiliated institution.

Alex - who got his middle name from his grandfather, a racing buff - has two sisters, Bethany, a sophomore at Mount Hebron High School, and Michelle, who will be a freshman there this year.

"We came out of Chicago. We moved here in '99. My father and I raced," Steve Jeffries said. "I was actually born in Indiana. My first memories of racing are going to the Indy 500 track and watching cars qualify. I started out as a track worker; then I was watching these guys go out and race their cars for a long time. And then, in 1997, I said, `Gee, I want to go out and do that too.'"

This spring, Alex started racing his go-kart at Sandy Hook Speedway in Harford County and other venues. "He races against kids, and actually sometimes when there's not enough kids, he'll race with adults, depending on how many people are out there. He's got a big grin on his face when he comes off the track," said Steve Jeffries, who estimates Alex's speed at 30 mph to 40 mph.

The go-kart autocross demonstration, in which Alex will participate, is being arranged for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 4 - qualifying day. Racing is planned Sept. 5 and 6. Steve Jeffries will race with Group 3, probably in the mornings, he said.

For information, visit www. summitpoint-raceway.com or http://members.aol.com/race65 rose.

- Fay Lande

Elkridge Landing pupil wins national award

Justin Green of Hanover has been named a U.S. Achievement Academy winner for his accomplishments in mathematics.

He was nominated for the award by Gretchen Shaffer, his math teacher at Elkridge Landing Middle School.

"She was absolutely wonderful with Justin this year. They really developed a close bond," said Justin's mother, Charlene Daniel-Green, who has lived in the Elkridge area for 11 years.

"We had considered a couple years ago moving, and it would have been devastating to leave this community," she said. Justin also won in the All-American Scholar At-Large Division, an award based on his grade-point average and his extracurricular activities.

"He's definitely the science-math type of kid," said Daniel-Green, who won a U.S. Achievement Academy award for English at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg in 1982. "He loves meteorology."

Justin, who could also receive a grant as part of his awards, will appear in the academy's National Mathematics Yearbook and All American Scholar Yearbook for this year.

- Fay Lande

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