Vetdrenaline is a non-profit race team created to give military veterans adrenaline-infused therapy through the wild world of motorsport. Veterans on this team get to ride shotgun in off-road racers, drift cars and dragsters. The goal is to help military veterans who are going through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Building the Team: Jess Maney officially began this effort in 2015. Maney is a captain in the U.S. Army, with 16 years and four deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently serving in the Arizona National Guard. In 2009, Maney was injured after surviving multiple IED blasts. His experience is what led to creating a way to help wounded veterans.
“Recovery is never over,” said Maney. He also noted that veterans miss the feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. They miss the rush. They miss the camaraderie of teamwork. Motorsport offers all those things, within the umbrella of a positive outlook. “You need a team to finish a race,” Maney noted, and that motorsport works as a great metaphor for how it helps treat PTSD, because it forces you to keep looking forward rather than constantly in your rearview mirror.
This was Vetdrenaline Racing’s first year at the Mint 400. Their race car was driven by veteran off-road racer Rick Randall, who was looking for his fourth class victory at the Mint. His co-driver was Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran and former Army National Guard medic Melissa Cooke.
Cooke had been dealing with her past experiences for over 10 years – and Vetdrenaline has given her an outlet. Training and preparing for this race has given her a purpose to focus on and remind her of who she is and what she can do.
The team was doing well until an unexpected puncture at speed forced them into a rock and knocked out of the race. Their confidence remained undefeated; for them the mission had been a success. Cooke proved to be a tremendous co-driver and grew from her experience, the point of the whole deal.
Vetdrenaline Racing is a 501C3 organization, so it’s strictly non-profit, relying on donations and volunteers. If you believe in what they are doing you can donate on their website at Vetdrenaline.com, where they have a link to a Go Fund Me account, or through their Facebook page at Vetdrenaline Racing.