Then there's Mike Hughes who races at Lasalle Speedway in Lasalle, Illinois, in the Street Stock division. He works five and sometimes six days a week as a mechanic in a local garage. Before climbing in his own car, Mike worked on a friend's Late Model. And while still in high school, he began building his first Street Stock using parts that he had picked up from various places. After several years of finding and rebuilding pieces, he finally had a complete Street Stock. At the end of 2004 Mike ran his first race. A typical race day will see Mike working from 5 in the morning until noon before rushing to the garage to get the car ready to go to the track. He would also take time away during the week to recycle metals and use the money to put new parts onto the car. This would often lead to long days and long nights loading the trailer up to take metal to the scales the next morning.

Three years after that first race, Mike's hard work finally paid off with a heat race win. He has continued to race and beat better-funded teams. "Mike Hughes, in my eyes, defines what a budget racer is. He has inspired me that no matter what if you want something bad enough, you can work your ass off and get it," says his friend and crew chief John Hogue. In 2008 Mike finished Seventh in points out of 40 racers.

An anonymous race fan wrote in to tell us about David Whetstone "a real grassroots race team," as the reader put it. David races at Thunder Valley Raceway in Central City, Pennsylvania. Dreaming of racing since he was 10 years old, he's now in his third season racing his Semi-Late Model which from Thunder Valley's rule book is basically a Street Stock. He nabbed his first feature win in just his second season, on August 11, 2007. Like most of Street Stock Nation, this young man has paid for everything out of his own paycheck. He built his car in his parent's garage, welding everything himself. It was, not surprisingly, put together with all used parts including tires, wheels, the rearend, axles, and more. After building the motor with his father, David even went to the scrap yard and bought lead, melting it himself to make weights.

While collecting your first feature win in a car that uses weights that you melted yourself is pretty cool in its own right, David went a step further. As the story goes from our reader, Whetstone took his race car to a local car show to help raise money for children with cancer. During the appearance, David decided to let people at the show sign their name on his car in exchange for a donation to the cancer charity. Out came the Sharpie and $775.50 later David had a car adorned with race fans' autographs.

David also carries the POW/MIA logo and American flag on his car during his home track's Veteran's Day celebrations. And he is always willing to lend a part or helping hand to his fellow racers.

Kansas racer Jeff Grimm read the column and wrote, "Hi Rob. Your February `Turn Five' pitch for `have nots' leaves me no choice but write to you about my dear friend and competitor, Dave Cattrell, driver of the 99C Hobby Stock at Heartland Park Topeka."

Grimm writes, "You will never meet a more soft spoken and sweet 40-something-year-old guy who has struggled to win a feature trophy for 20 years.Dave had a rough childhood with an alcoholic father who was a racer.His dad died when he was in high school leaving him an old feature trophy won many years ago.Dave's life goal is to win a trophy of his own to sit beside his dad's on the fireplace mantel.

"Last year Dave campaigned to a Fourth place finish in the year end series standings at Heartland Park.He had the whole family gathered at the banquet only to find out that Heartland Park only gave trophies through Third Place.