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All about the kids

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Young race fans enjoying the Chris Mann Memorial Race Friday at the Shelby County Fair.
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Over 20 bikes were given away to kids Friday during the Chris Mann Memorial Race at the Shelby County Fair.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

Matt Lux has been racing in Shelby County for close to 20 years. Friday's Fourth Annual Chris Mann Memorial Race during the Shelby County Fair might have been the most memorable event to date for Lux, who is the father of Shelbyville sophomore-to-be Grace Lux. 

Lux, who won the Trophy Dash race Friday, will not remember the event for his performance on the track. He will remember it for the size of the crowd and the happy faces of children sitting in the stands.  

"The crowd that we drew, it was the largest crowd in Shelbyville that I can remember in quite some time," Lux said. "I had the upmost respect for Chris Mann and now his family for what they are doing after his passing. Having the Tony Stewart Foundation come in and support the cause and the bike giveaway, it was one of the most enjoyable races I have been to in quite some time. There was a lot of energy."

Last year was the first year for the bike giveaway at the Shelby County Fair. This year, ALM Racing, which sponsors Lux, donated 24 brand new bikes (bought from Shelbyville Walmart) to give away at the Rush and Shelby County Fairs. Lux and Walmart, among others, also donated bikes. 

"Ron Combs and Matthew Hedrick started this a few years ago, they started giving bikes away at one of the Rushville races," Lux said. "There was a lot of joy and excitement in that, giving to youngsters. It's just a great deal. It is all about the kids. I don't know any other way to say it. We had the drivers come out and socialize with them (kids), which made their nights special as well."

Lux finished fourth overall in the Feature on Friday, while his teammate, Tate Martz, finished third. Rushville's Matthew Hedrick won the Feature after winning Heat 3. Cory Clay, who was second overall in the Feature, and Joey Paxson won the first two heats. 

Lux, in his No. 5 machine, was fourth overall in the second heat. Lux said the Feature race, part of the King of the TQ Midgets racing series, was a "fast" 24-lap battle. The Trophy Dash, which featured the top four qualifiers from each of the three heats, was a much shorter race as the competitors were on the track for a four-lap sprint to the finish. 

"We went 24 laps. That was Chris Mann's number," Lux said. "It is hard to explain the satisfaction you get from racing. It is just that instant satisfaction is why I drive."

Lux was not the only one who had a fun night under the lights. Jake Kuhn, a 2009 Waldron graduate, is a longtime race fan and attended the event again this year. He said he has been around TQ Midget racing since he was five years old. It was another memorable year for Kuhn and his family. 

"It was great to see people recognize someone (Chris Mann) who was taken too soon," Kuhn said. "I have been coming here as long as I can remember. It was a good race, especially towards the end. It's dirt track racing. It's Friday night under the lights. You get to interact with a lot of the guys. It's always just a good time and good racing."

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.