Meet the Pit Board Charity's Board of Directors.

Sonya Ameral - Clay - Founder

Welcome to the Pit Board Charity!  My name is Sonya Amaral and I am the founder of the PBC!!

Born and raised in the state of California, I live in the central valley with my husband, Eddie; two daughters, Amy (10) and Ashley (8); and our dog, Lugnut, and cats, Colors, Tess, and Sugar

NASCAR didn’t come into my life until a little later than most.  Growing up, my family was into NHRA drag racing.  I slowly came to my senses and started watching NASCAR when some friends had it on their television every time we stopped to visit.

While I was learning more and more about the sport, I found  The webmaster, Jim Peterson, was very helpful in getting me registered with his “Pit Board”, a message board to chat with other NASCAR/Dale Jr. fans.  I learned a lot and made some instant friends!  I also learned tons about the sport of NASCAR racing.

Months later, our country experienced 9-11-2001.  There I was, rocking my 4-day old daughter (Miss Ashley) to sleep, and watching all of this horror on television.  On the Pit Board, the chatter was on how we could help.  How could such a small group of people come together to help those in need.

So as I was lying in bed … thinking … it was like that moment on television where the little light bulb goes on.  Wee hours of the morning, I get up and scribble on a piece of paper — 43 positions … 43 charities.  I just knew I was going to forget.

The next day, after some research and a little Pit Board chatter, I decided to move forward and start raising money.  With many Dale Jr. fans, I researched and found some smaller charitable organizations to contribute to and even found many race-related.  Set up a line-up with 43 positions.  Dale Jr.’s finish each week would end with a WIN for one very worthy organization.

Slowly the word spread and our group became larger and larger.  Each week, there were different challenges tossed out to the members and that helped raise even more donations.

So here we are … 7 years later and, although we are a smaller group now, we run on Nitro some days!

The PBC SHINES every December with its Junior’s Elves and Adopt-a-Family events.  These are two events you do not want to miss if you are new to our group.  Working with JR Motorsports has been an incredible experience.  We have watched their organization evolve from a 2-room office at DEI to its corporate establishment with more than 100 employees in Mooresville, NC.  JRM and the Dale Jr. Foundation definitely care about the future of NASCAR racing and those in need.

There are so many stories I would love to share with you about the PBC and its adventures; ask any time!  My email is

What I can share is that working with everyone who has joined the PBC has been the most rewarding experience ever.  I had never thought of myself as a very charitable person before and now I realize giving just a little bit simply fills your heart with warmth that is indescribable.  Watching a child give a hug and say “I’ll never forget this moment” is just the best feeling ever, knowing you helped make that memory for him/her.

Not much of a bio I left you with, did I??  Ha ha.  Ok, bottom line.

Sonya, 39 years old, mommy of 3, wife of Ed, employee of Amaral Transport, and LOVING MY LIFE!!!

Hugs, Sonya Amaral

Lynn Pipkins - Board Member




Hey!  I am Lynn Pipkins or Momma Pipkins if you ask my very active beautiful daughter, Avery. I joined the PBC in early 2002 after I saw a post on the Pitboard.  I was a little unsure but thought it was worth a $10.00 risk to see if Sonya was the real deal.  After the first donation she sent me a receipt so I sent her more money.  Years later I am still an active member of the PBC and Sonya is one of my best friends! 


I enjoy all the projects we do but my favorite has to be Christmas Across the Country. If you are not familiar with the project, we adopt a family and provide for them starting with Thanksgiving Dinner.  It is truly amazing to pick a family that is down on their luck and provide for them during the holiday season.  Every family has been unique but one thing is the same, they are very thankful and completely blown away by the generosity of this group!   If you have never participated in the project I highly recommend it! 


I have not been able to post on the Pitboard much over the last few years but I signed up for a username, 

Susan Zavertnik - Board Member

Hello to all!

I can't quite remember how old I was when I began watching Nascar but it was because my brother would turn it on every so often.  I would ask who to root for and my brother would say, "The number 3 car.  He's the best.  They call him the Intimidator and he's bad ass."  Okay, maybe not in those exact words but something to that effect.  Thus began my journey into fandome.  My interest was sparked even more while watching the IROC races.  I thought, "how great is it that each car was a different color but everything else was the same."  And there I was when those races came on, looking for the Earnhardt name.  When Dale Jr. came onto the scene I decided he would be my driver.  Dale Sr. was my brother's so Dale Jr. would be mine.  He was close to my age, just beginning his Cup career and through thick and thin I'd support and cheer for him.


Being on the west coast, let alone in San Francisco, I was NASCAR deprived. The result was a lot of surfing and checking out websites. While checking out the Dale Jr. Pit Stop and lurking around the Pit Board, I saw the link to the Pit Board Charity but didn't think too much of it. On Dale Jr's site, I once again saw the link to the Pit Board Charity and I figured it must be legit so I decided to take a look to see what it was all about. I liked what I saw and liked the idea of how the charity was raising money. I donated a couple of times but participating in the Christmas groups is what had me hooked and I've been doing it ever since. I came to the realization that I could take the $3.50 for my daily mocha at Starbucks and use it for someone that I knew needed it more than I did or instead of buying lunch one day, I could make it at home. We all have our moments of enlightment and that was mine. Now my problem is that I have to curb my spending at Christmas because I start buying too much for those families!!!

I've made a lot new friends and hopefully life long friends from participating in the Pit Board Charity.   Everyone comes from different spaces and places and I think that what makes this charity work.  A common love for Nascar and the desire to help people.