Randy Sweers will not fly the white-and-black colors of his Fastboats Marine Group dealership or the green-and-black of BurgerFi restaurants on his Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran when it starts this weekend's Super Boat International season-opener in Charlotte Harbor. Instead the 41-footer, which runs in the Superboat class and is powered by a pair of 750-hp Potter Performance engines, will be dressed in a completely new graphics to match its new name, Racing For Cancer/AutoNation. The graphics were applied to the boat last night.
For Sweers, whose goal is to raise money and awareness money for the Racing for Cancer charity started by 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (Hunter-Reay lost his mother to cancer), the motivation to get involved is personal and has become even so in the past month and a half.
"My wife, Kim, lost her father to cancer and I lost my mother to cancer so we decided this would be a good charity to help support and raise money for about six months ago," said Sweers. "Approximately six weeks ago, Kim was diagnosed with cancer. We are treating it now and the outcome looks very good because she caught it very early. It's a testament to early detection. We figured that we wanted to let as many people know as possible that about the benefits of early detection.
"After some serious thought Kim and I agreed that using our race boat as a platform would be a great way to do this," he added. "We approached Ryan and his wife, Beccy, and ask them what they thought of the idea. They both thought it was a great concept."
Sweers took his idea and showed graphic renderings for the boat to Mark Cannon at AutoNation. Cannon, who serves as the company's vice president of corporate communications, agreed to get involved.
"I told him what I wanted to do and he was very enthusiastic about it," said Sweers. "AutoNation has partnered with Ryan for a five-year deal to help raise money for Racing For Cancer. Once Ryan and Becky were on board AutoNation was on board we decided we would move forward, and that's where we are today.
"It's not only about racing, it's about raising cancer awareness," he continued. "Given the statistic nowadays I think everybody in this country will be affected by this disease either directly or with a family member at some point in their lifetime."
"Of course, they can give more if they like to," he added.