Courtney Barber
August 4, 2017

Four years ago I heard about Rally North America and a week later Team Mustang Girls were on the road with the group. At the time I thought it was just another reason to get out and drive but over the last four years and six events, I have learned that it's so much more than that, and $800,000 later many charities have learned the same lesson.

Rally North America (RNA) was started seven years ago by Scott Spielman and Tony Intrieri. Each rally carries a common idea, driving the most spectacular roads in America while also driving for a cause. RNA believes that by combining the love of the automotive lifestyle and a worthy charity organization, it is possible to do something great through the automotive hobby. And they're right. The routes are planned artfully to combine a mixture of scenery, curves, history, and attractions all while avoiding the mundane highway as much as possible.

This year we started in Christiansburg, Virginia and headed south to Rome, Georgia, getting to drive on Virginia International Raceway, the Tail of the Dragon, and the infamous Talladega Speedway. The route was nothing short of amazing and the tracks were an incredible accomplishment to knock off the bucket list of any auto enthusiast. On top of all that we got to help Hope for the Warriors, a national, nonprofit organization that supports wounded U.S. service members, their families, and families of the fallen. Tony Intrieri said, "Our teams raised over $149,000 in direct donations for our charity through hard work and persistence. That is a record for our group. Our teams raised awareness for Hope For The Warriors by getting the name out there in social media, emails, actual letters, business cards, QR codes, and finally having the Hopes logo in the form of decals on their vehicles as they traveled thousands of miles from all over our continent to meet in Christiansburg, Virginia."

While RNA events are not specifically for Mustangs, they always make up a good portion of the horsepower on the rallys. While everyone rocked the Hope for the Warriors decal on their cars, this year two teams went above and beyond showing their support. Team Stangy, piloted by Teresa Mast Glahn and Mike Marti, transformed their 2006 Mustang GT into a rolling tribute for the soldiers. When asked about the inspiration for the design Teresa told us, "All of the families of the service members on the hood have been helped by Hope in some way; from helping families cope with their loss through Gold Star Family support programs to the continued support for families as they cope with PTSD and other medical issues. When we speak of them to others, it is with tears in our eyes as we recall their sacrifice. What we wanted was for people to stop, think, and ask so that we could share their lives."

Team Stressed Out also put a great deal of thought and heart in the design for their 2010 Mustang GT convertible. Don Hughmanick teamed up with his son Andrew for the rally and told us about their inspiration, "In 2015 when we were raising money for Hope I just did the hood with the American flag. It got such an amazing response that this year I wanted to blow it out and go big with bold graphics and striking colors so that it could be seen coming a mile away. I also wanted to honor our servicemen by asking them to sign the stars. Current and retired servicemen alike have enjoyed signing the car. The response now with the bold large graphic is incredible and it sparks conversation about Hope." And for anyone wondering the million-dollar question, Don will be happy to tell you, "It is not paint. It is not a wrap. Scott cut the wavy lines out of vinyl for me and Andrew and I hand-laid the stripes, and the blue is PlastiDip."

As this year’s Rally comes to an end and rally withdrawals officially kick in, we can begin to look forward to next year’s goals courtesy of Scott Spielman, who said, "2018 Brings a new challenge: US50 West. We can't wait to break $1,000,000!" And very similar to the premise of the movie Field of Dreams, Tony Intrieri leaves us with this, "We'll plan your vacation if you are willing to support our charity in 2018." We’re Looking forward to it already!

Special thanks to all the Rally North America teams for sharing their photos and to Dani Rae and TJ Fry for the video coverage.

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