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'Can't Wait Grand Prix' a Roaring Success

Posted Dec 20, 2011

It’s late December and there are lots of things we can’t wait for. The holiday season is upon us, there is that big New York/New Jersey clash of the Jets and the Giants Saturday on Christmas Eve, and then Jets Nation hopes another playoff berth will nest in their team’s stocking at some point in the near future.

But on Monday night, more than a dozen Jets joined Bart Scott at Pole Position Raceway in Jersey City, N.J., for the Madbacker’s first “Can’t Wait Grand Prix” fundraiser. The event’s guest of honor was former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who continues his recovery from a severe spinal injury he suffered during a 2010 game against Army.

“With my charity, I try to be a spider web. I try not to just focus on one thing, but the primary focus of the charity is to help paraplegics, quadriplegics, people with disabilities,” Scott said. “That’s something that is near and dear to me because my cousin was a victim to a senseless act of violence and became a paraplegic. That’s when I really started the charity to get out and give back once I became aware of all the issues and the financial strain that comes with dealing with the injury and making the adjustment.”

Scott, who founded the “A Son Never Forgets Foundation” in 2006, has done a lot to help LeGrand. He credits OLB Jamaal Westerman, one of LeGrand’s former teammates, for bringing his issue to the forefront.

“When we had the 'Can’t Wait' phenomenon, I wanted to use it for something positive,” said Scott. “So this offseason we had the 'Can’t Wait' T-shirts symbolizing I can’t wait to see Eric get up and take those first steps again.

“He is such an inspirational young man. He inspired me to get up off my butt and dare to do something in the community. He’s approaching this thing with the same grit, determination and enthusiasm that I heard that he had when he was a player. We’re excited, we’re happy to have him out as our guest of honor, and I don’t think there’s a more worthy person around.”

Scott’s team ended up in second place as RB Shonn Greene led his racers to victory. Plaxico Burress was on hand, watching with his family, and Mark Sanchez waved flags during the championship laps. Marquice Cole, Antonio Cromartie, Marcus Dixon, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Joe McKnight, Sione Pouha, Eric Smith, Donald Strickland, Kyle Wilson and Westerman all turned in professional efforts.

Scott and Smith have the need for speed and they aren’t strangers to Pole Position.

“This is what we do. In the offseason, this is where we spent a lot of our time. So this isn’t our first rodeo," Scott said after a few practice laps. "If you looked at the rear of that race, you can see Marcus Dixon, Donald Strickland and Shonn Greene we’re struggling a little bit. I think they underestimated how much power and control it really takes. Your fingers cramp, your feet cramp as you’ll find out briefly and it’s tough to control the go-kart. But it’s fun. It’s one of the most fun things you can do, its’ a real challenge. Everyone here is real competitive.”

Time ended up beating Scott on this night. He had Greene in his sights in the final and was pointing at him, but cars were stopped and Greene got the first championship.

“We have a big competition going on. Only the strong will survive,” said Scott. “I’m not going to call myself Dale Earnhardt, but if I have to run somebody into the wall — I will.”

Practice resumed at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center today. Scott will get his chance to run the Giants all over MetLife Stadium on Saturday only a few days after giving another present to Eric LeGrand.

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