PR Newswire - USA; Feb 9, 2002
The green flag is waving as Kelly Sutton revs the engine of her racecar. She rounds turn one and the adrenaline is racing. The first lap of many to come in 2002, Sutton has lofty goals for this year. She has her eyes and her heart set on winning the "Rookie of the Year" in the Goody's Dash Series.
To this point, Sutton has proven her grit and determination. She is battling the other drivers on the track and the disease she battles every day, multiple sclerosis. When she achieves her goal, Sutton will become the first person with a known diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) to not only compete in a NASCAR series, but capture an honor as prestigious as Rookie of the Year. She and her team will chase the checkered flag on February 9 at Daytona International Speedway in the Goody's Dash Series Daytona USA 150.
For the past two seasons, Kelly Sutton, her family, and crew have been on a steady learning curve in the Goody's Dash Series. In 2000, she attempted Daytona but fell short in the qualifying round when her engine blew. In 2001, she returned to Daytona determined to make the race and begin a successful, though limited, season. Sutton qualified 21st and felt strong throughout the race, eventually working her way to 13th position. In the final laps, Sutton's fuel pump went out, causing her to finish 21st overall. Sutton was excited that she had finally achieved her goal -- racing at Daytona International Speedway.
In 2002, Sutton and Team COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate for injection) will team up with Cam Strader, the 2000 Rookie of the Year in the Dash Series and the 2001 Goody's Dash Series Champion. Barry Owen, 2001 crew chief for Strader, moves over as crew chief for Sutton, bringing his accomplished experience to her team. Owen crew chiefed for Strader during both award-winning seasons and will apply his knowledge to Sutton's quest for the rookie honors. Owen comes from a long line of championship teams -- working with teams in nearly every level of racing, including Winston Cup. He has served as the crew chief for NASCAR big names such as Richard Childress, Terry Labonte, Geoff Bodine, Rusty Wallace, A.J. Foyt, and Richard Petty. In addition to his crew chief accomplishments, Owen has vast experience as a car owner and as a Goody's Dash Series car builder, recording two points championships with driver Larry Caudill. "I am excited for the opportunity to work with Kelly Sutton," said Owen. "She is a talented driver with a strong desire to win races and that is exactly what we intend to do in 2002 -- win races, as well as the 'Rookie of the Year'!" Owen joined Team COPAXONE(R) in late 2001. Attacking the Track
Running for "Rookie of the Year" will be Sutton's primary goal in 2002. She has raced limited schedules in 2000 and 2001, finishing as high as 10th position and leading laps in one race. Sutton and her team are gearing up to attack all 14 tracks on the series. "We are ready to face the challenges that running a full season brings," said Sutton. "The Team COPAXONE(R) team has been building to this point since 2000 and we are ready to run with the best of the Dash Series to attain our goal of 'Rookie of the Year'."
In 2001, Sutton raced in six events on the Goody's Dash Series. She performed well in each outing and is eager to apply her knowledge to this year's season. Her highlight came at the second race of the season at Orange County Speedway, Rougemont, N.C., where she led for 18 laps of the race eventually finishing 10th. Sutton will put her experience at the front of the pack to work this season as she attempts to win the "Rookie of the Year" in the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring Division.
In addition to being one of few female drivers, Sutton is battling another distinguishing characteristic, MS. Diagnosed at 16, Sutton has waged a daily battle for most of her life. She is determined not to let it get her down or keep her from her dream of racing.
"My family rallied behind me to keep me focused on the positives and on the future successes I hoped to have in racing," said Sutton. "When I would get down about the disease, my dad would tell me to focus on the track. With the help of my passion for racing, learning more about the disease, and daily medication, I am here today pursuing my dreams!"
Team COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate for injection)
Sutton is just one example of someone who is living with relapsing-remitting MS and pursuing her dreams. Established in 2000, Team COPAXONE(R) celebrates the accomplishments of people like Kelly who refuse to let MS stand in their way. Members are working to change the perceptions that society holds of people living with multiple sclerosis.
The days when the doctor sent people home and told them to go to bed and prepare for a wheelchair are slowly disappearing. Today, a combination of healthy diet, exercise, medical management, and willpower are helping people like Kelly Sutton pursue their dreams.
"I want people to know they can still achieve their dreams, that life doesn't end after the diagnosis," Sutton stated.
Through nationwide speaking engagements on MS, Kelly has found not only is she able to motivate the audience, but they also find a way to inspire her.
"Each talk I give or event I attend, I meet someone who touches my heart and makes me feel connected to all the other people who are fighting the same battle I am," Sutton said. "I am fortunate that I have been able to keep doing what I love, and I try to tell people to find their passion and go for it. Don't let MS stand in your way."
Advances in Medicine
Continuing research has led neurologists to treatments that can modify the immune processes thought to be responsible for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The FDA has approved drugs, such as COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate for injection) that Sutton takes. COPAXONE(R) helps reduce the frequency of relapses in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. While individual results may vary, since going back on COPAXONE(R) in June 1999, Kelly has suffered only one relapse.
The most common side effects of COPAXONE(R) are redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the site of injection, flushing, chest pain, weakness, infection, pain, nausea, joint pain, anxiety, and muscle stiffness. These reactions are usually mild and seldom require professional treatment. Patients should tell their doctor about any side effects.
Some patients report a short-term reaction right after injecting COPAXONE(R). This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing. These symptoms generally appear within minutes of an injection, last about 15 minutes, and go away by themselves without further problems.
Call 1-800-887-8100 or log onto http://www.copaxone.com/ for more information about COPAXONE(R) or multiple sclerosis. Teva Neuroscience, Inc. markets COPAXONE(R). COPAXONE(R) is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
See additional important information at http://www.copaxone.com/pi.html or call 1-800-887-8100.
Contact: Jennifer Westphal, +1-816-512-2241,
or Emily Dahlbeck, +1-816-512-2355, both of Fleishman-Hillard, for Teva
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