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Sun, 4 Sep 2005, 10:05 AM

Cruz Pedregon's Carlos Santana-Autographed Guitar to Be Auctioned for Charity
Courtesy of David Harris

Proceeds Benefit Milagro, JDRF & Hurricane Katrina Relief

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Former NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Nitro Funny Car World Champion Cruz Pedregon, today kicked off a week-long EBay Online Auction of his personal Carlos Santana-autographed PRS Guitar at historic Indianapolis Raceway Park.

All proceeds will benefit Deborah and Carlos Santana's Milagro Foundation for underrepresented and disadvantaged children, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts on behalf of Advance Auto Parts. The winning bid will also include Santana/Pedregon Racing guitar picks, a limited edition 1:24 scale, autographed Santana-themed Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car diecast collectable and a personalized hero card from Pedregon.

Fans can submit bids on EBay Online Auctions or through , starting at $1,000 and in increments of $25. The guitar will be up for bid until Friday, Sept. 9. In addition to the auction, a few special JDRF-supported guests and their families will be in attendance at the Advance Auto Parts hospitality area to help raise awareness of juvenile diabetes.

During the Las Vegas race in 2004, Pedregon teamed up with musical genius and guitar mastermind Santana to promote Deborah and Carlos Santana's Milagro Foundation and celebrate Hispanic heritage. At the event, Santana autographed this special guitar to commemorate the occasion.

"Tony (Pedregon) and I felt very privileged and honored to have met Carlos Santana," Pedregon said. "He is an icon of the music world and a big humanitarian. To auction the guitar with Santana's signature is a great way to help two causes that are very close to my heart, Deborah and Carlos Santana's Milagro Foundation and JDRF."

In 1998, Deborah and Carlos Santana started their Milagro Foundation to help at-risk, underrepresented and disadvantaged youth through educational programs, the arts and health services. With funds generated by concert tickets and generous individual and corporate donors, the foundation makes grants to grass roots, community-based, tax exempt organizations that work with children and youth in the San Francisco Bay area, the United States and countries around the world touched by the music of Santana.

Since October 1998, the Milagro Foundation has supported children and youth in 31 states and 27 countries. The Milagro Foundation has made grants of nearly $2 million to more than 260 agencies around the world working with children and youth. Pedregon had learned more about the Milagro Foundation last fall, and saw this as an opportunity to further contribute to this worthy cause.

"Children are the foundation of our future," Pedregon said. "And we know how important it is to give them as many opportunities as possible. Unfortunately, there are many children that are not given a chance to succeed in life. What Deborah and Carlos (Santana) are doing is incredible. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to make a difference in children's lives."

Pedregon's primary sponsor, Advance Auto Parts, is one of the nations largest contributors to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Over the past 10 years, Advance Auto Parts has contributed a total of $10.3 million dollars to help JDRF find a cure.

"Diabetes runs in my family," Pedregon said. "My primary sponsor, Advance Auto Parts, is a big supporter of this cause. So I wanted to raise money and awareness about this disease that affects so many children and youngsters."

In light the devastation to the Gulf Coast left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the entire Advance Auto Parts team saw this as an opportunity to lend a hand.

"Some of the pictures we see coming out of that region have been unbelievable," Pedregon said. "We wanted to help out in any way we could. We send out our thoughts and prayers to everyone touched by this disaster."

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