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Speeding Jets

Scheifele, Hutchinson take to the race track in Gimli

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/9/2015 (1525 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/9/2015 (1525 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you were hanging out with Mark Chipman Thursday afternoon and he seemed a little distracted, cut him some slack.

The co-owner of the Winnipeg Jets was well aware two of his key players, centre Mark Scheifele and goalie Michael Hutchinson, were channeling their inner Ricky Bobby at the Gimli Motorsports Park.

That's not typically the kind of cross-training owners recommend to their athletes.

Scheifele said he doesn't watch NASCAR on television, but that didn't mean he wasn't totally pumped to be there.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson jumped at the chance to help Mark Scheifele when he found out it was in aid of KidSport Winnipeg.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson jumped at the chance to help Mark Scheifele when he found out it was in aid of KidSport Winnipeg.

"I'm a fast-driving fan," he said with a smile. "I don't know if (Chipman) knows that. I think we'll be pretty safe today."

The two Jets were given some driving tips by professional race car driver David Richert and then got behind the wheel themselves of an Audi TT sports car for a little "shake and bake." Scheifele, one of the fastest skaters on the Jets, pushed the needle up to 165 km/h. That was just a few kilometres slower than when he was a passenger with Richert.

"That was really fast, it was crazy. I got sucked back into the back of the seat," he said. "You feel like you're going to take off and go flying. I was just hoping I wouldn't throw up. That was my main focus. I've never gone that fast before. (I've gone) almost that fast," he said, keeping a straight face for less than a second before breaking out into laughter. "Just kidding."

Thursday's racing came out of Scheifele's golf tournament in June as a couple of the auction prizes were racing a few laps around the Gimli track.

The event raised more than $80,000 for KidSport Winnipeg. Ray Bateman and Paul Scharf each bid $1,000 to get some pointers from Richert. They each got to sit in the passenger seat while he introduced them to the track and then sat in the driver's seat themselves.

Jets centre Mark Scheifele can't wait to take the Audi TT for a spin at Gimli. The event was in aid of his chosen charity, KidSport Winnipeg.

Jets centre Mark Scheifele can't wait to take the Audi TT for a spin at Gimli. The event was in aid of his chosen charity, KidSport Winnipeg.

"It was a great experience," Bateman said. "One of the best is turn nine, you can go so fast. We were doing more than 190 km/h down the stretch. The brakes were just smoked right off the car."

Scharf said the thought of perishing in a fiery crash never entered his mind.

"It felt very safe and in control. Dave was pushing you lap by lap. 'You can go a little faster.' He taught us control," he said.

KidSport is a national charity administered in the province by Sport Manitoba. It aims to remove financial barriers that prevent children from participating in sports.

Hutchinson said when he heard that was Scheifele's charity of choice, he jumped on board.

"It really hits home for any athlete. You never know where your life would be if you didn't have the opportunity to play sports. Your life would be totally different," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 7:46 AM CDT: Adds video

9:08 AM: Replaces photo

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