Feature Friday: "Lightning Liz" Montgomery & David Garbo Jr.
By: Beth Garbo
David Garbo Jr. Gives Special Thanksgiving to "Lightning Liz" Montgomery
Bandolero racecar driver thankful for second chance
"Lightning Liz" loves racing her INEX Bandolero car more than anything. She disliked school until recently when that changed after receiving a scholarship from The David Garbo Jr. Fund.
Liz was accepted at The Fletcher School, which helps children with dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD learn and meet their academic potential. Liz thought she would have to forego racing this year because of the cost of attending a private school; however, thanks to receiving a scholarship from The David Garbo Jr. Fund established just for this purpose, everything has changed… She's excited to announce she will be racing this year!
Liz Montgomery is a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia, learning disabilities that affect reading and writing skills and affect nearly 30 percent of the population. She attended a public Montessori school where her mother worked to modify the Montessori curriculum to meet Liz's academic needs. Liz then longed to go to school with the neighborhood children so she moved to the traditional middle school, which unfortunately resulted in academic disappointment. The family made the tough decision to place Liz at The Fletcher School in Charlotte, North Carolina, its small class sizes and multi-sensory, specialized educational tools modeled perfectly to her learning style. For the first time ever, she proudly earned all A's.
Kevin Cram, owner of CRE, a company offering many services in the INEX Bandolero and Legends car series for Liz, reached out to David Garbo, Jr. after learning about his scholarship fund with the hopes that he could help. After advertising the scholarship opportunity to the public, the fund administrators agreed it was a perfect fit for Liz based on the fund's philosophy: to assist a learning-challenged student athlete with specialized education.
David Garbo Jr. has struggled with dyslexia since preschool and found a passion for stock car racing at about the same time. He and his family discovered the power of teamwork and communication skills achieved in motor sports, as well as the three-dimensional, visual and tactile acuity many of these reading-challenged youngsters display. For David Jr. and Liz, success on the racetrack has helped to build the self-esteem to overcome the frustrating failures in the classroom. So for David Jr., as he was inspired by the accommodations that he received in high school at The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, he chose to "pay it forward" and started a scholarship fund in 2012, exclusively funded by his race earnings. Since its inception 18 months ago, he has contributed close to $50,000 to the fund.
After racing more than 80 races in 2012 with 37 wins and the most wins in the history of his division, David Jr. became the INEX Legends Cars National Champion, Connecticut State Champion, and Waterford Speedbowl Track Champion. He quickly moved up to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Series, first with Marcus Ambrose Motorsports and currently with Jamie Yelton's Fat Head Racing team. In addition to running about 40 late model races each of the last two years, he also ran a part-time stint this year in the NASCAR K&N division with Hattori Racing, finishing in the top 25 percent of drivers with only seven starts. Next year he is thrilled to have been chosen from hundreds of drivers nationwide to drive with Whelen Motorsports and their new K&N team, just three divisions below the illustrious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"Lightning Liz" will prepare for participation this spring, compliments of CRO, in the Concord Spring Series and then in INEX's Summer ShootOut in her beloved #9 Bandolero beginning in June, wrapped with The David Garbo, Jr. Fund logo, and with him cheering her from the stands!