As International Motor Contest Association Hobby Stocks drivers, brothers Brandon and Brock Beeter spend their Sundays at Nodak Speedway during the summer, reaching speeds of 65 mph.
But their lives slowed to a screeching halt in June 2012 when their mother, Bonnie, was diagnosed with brain and breast cancer.
On July 29, just one day after Brock and his wife Jenny recited their vows, Bonnie passed away. She was 54.
Brock Beeter’s No. 48 Hobby Stocks car shows off the newly added Relay for Life and American Cancer Society logos as well as the phrase “Scrappin’ Out Cancer.” Photo Courtesy of Beeter Racing.
"You're almost in shock," Brock said. "Even to this day it still hasn't set in. It has to a point, but it's still almost surreal. She should be here. She was part of the racing community in every way. Everybody knew her. It's hard to imagine her not here because this is what we did all our lives."
Bonnie served as a mother figure to more than just her two sons. In 1987, she started Bonnie's Daycare, where she watched over area children while their parents were at work. Bonnie retired in 2008 and spent her remaining years capturing Brock's and Brandon's racing career through her passion for photography.
"Our mom is always in our mind," Brandon said. "It keeps everybody aware of cancer and how fast it can strike."
In the month between Bonnie's diagnosis and death, Brock worked on finishing his black and green No. 48 car that currently has him in second place in the IMCA Hobby Stocks points race, one point behind fellow Minot native Dana Brandt. While Brock desperately wanted his mother to see the finished product, he struggled to shift his focus back to the racetrack.
"Working on the race car reminded me of her," Brock said. "She was always around so it was hard to work on the car. It sucked is what it did. There was no motivation to do anything."
A week after her death, the Beeter brothers were back on the track, but Brock said it didn't feel right.
"That was the toughest night because it felt like we were cheating her," Brock said. "She wasn't there and it felt like we were doing something behind her back. At the same time, I know she wants us to be here and wants us to race."
The brothers got the opportunity to keep their mother's spirit alive when Jim Zaun of Gerdau Corporation asked them if they'd like to represent Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. The two agreed and the Relay for Life and American Cancer Society logos was added to both cars, with the phrase "Scrappin' Out Cancer" etched in pink.
"It makes me feel proud to represent Relay for Life," Brandon said. "Every dime we raise means a lot."
Both cars also feature a decal honoring their late mother on the driver's side. The decal reads "In Loving Memory: Mom" with a picture of Bonnie holding her camera.
During the Sprints event Sunday at Nodak Speedway, the Beeter brothers raised $1,060 from fans in the stands. The Landing Bar & Bottle Shop pledged $1,000 and Tuff Trucks added another $700. Brandon said they would be satisfied with raising $2,500 during the season, but the Minot community has smashed that goal already. According to the "Scrappin' Out Cancer" page on Relay for Life's website, $8,950.30 has been raised as of Thursday evening.
Although Bonnie is no longer with Brock and Brandon at the racetrack in person, her voice still resonates.
"What our parents preached was to have fun," Brock said. "If you win, that makes it better, but in the long run, just have fun."