For a hobby that started as a way to meet new people and blow off steam, Michael Lundeen has certainly gained some serious momentum with go-kart racing.
Michael and his childhood friend David Lewis Sneed were huge racing fans growing up. When David lost his life to Lymphoma at the age of 27, Michael was devastated but channeled it into something positive on the track. In honor of David, Team Lundeen, the charitable division of Michael’s go-kart racing program, MDL Motorsports, is committed to supporting Oregon Cancer Foundation.
Over the last couple of years the program has grown. Sponsors who share Michael’s philanthropic philosophy have signed on, a source of pride for the racer since sponsors are often very difficult to obtain. But, as he points out, “These are not your father’s go-karts.”
Michael’s karts are purpose-built racing machines that can go 120 mph. Michael has competed at racing events at world class circuits—tracks that occasionally see pro and semi-pro teams. His small team competes at what he describes as a semi-pro regional level, but he says it’s not uncommon to see competitors from NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 or the Daytona Endurance series at the races. His team competes against everyone from professional karting supply shops, and factory teams to every kind of weekend hobby racer.
As enjoyable as racing is on its own, Michael says his relationship with Oregon Cancer Foundation has added an immense amount of value and satisfaction. Not only is he motivated to raise funds in memory of his friend David, but before he retired last year, Micheal also served as a firefighter and paramedic at Eugene’s Fire Station #9, where he came into contact with many people who were fighting cancer.
Michael originally approached Willamette Valley Cancer Institute with his story, looking for anything he could do to help raise awareness and support.
“They met my request with open arms. They gave me hats, materials, pamphlets and contact information for Oregon Cancer Foundation so I could set up a fundraising page.”
Michael’s idea was to raise funds for the organization and place OCF logos on his kart and uniform—making his cause visible on the track, as well as in the videos posted on youtube. His modest goal of raising a thousand dollars on his fundraising page has almost doubled, not including the donations he’s received for participating in relays, fundraisers and other sanctioned events.
With an endorsement from Oregon Cancer Foundation, Michael has faithfully spread the word to friends, family and racing fans from Seattle to Northern California about what OCF is doing to support people fighting cancer in Lane County. His future plans include adding a second driver to his small team and spreading OCF’s message even farther by competing in the newly formed Oregon 2 Stroke Championship Series, with races in the Portland area, Washington and Idaho.