Kaleb Cox, 12, rides a golf cart with his mother, Kimberly at the Moulton Speedway.

Local family raises Autism awareness through dirt racing  

Kaleb Cox cannot use his words to show his excitement for racing, but according to his mother, Kimberly, he doesn’t need them.  

Kaleb has Autism and is nonverbal. At 12 years old, one of his favorite things to do is watch his family race cars at the Moulton Speedway every Friday night.  

Kaleb is the youngest of four adopted sons by Kimberly and Anthony Cox of Hartselle. The couple have fostered 30 children since 2011.  

Despite his inability to express his excitement verbally, each Friday night, the Moulton Speedway transforms into a sanctuary for the 12-year-old, where the roar of engines and the thrill of the track offer him a form of communication that transcends words. 

“He wants to be right there as close to the track as possible,” Kimberly Cox said. “He likes the feel of the mud thrown on him from the cars.  

Anthony Cox built and races their family car that also raises awareness for Autism, something that is close to Kimberly Cox’s heart. Her father raced cars when she was a child. The month of April is also Autism Awareness Month recognized nationally. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 36 children and 1 in 45 adults in the United States today. 

Gaylord Graphics and Designs of Danville designed and donated the wrap that features colorful puzzle pieces.  

Now, partnering with another racing family, the Coxes are selling the puzzle piece decals to drivers and race attendees to help raise money for Autism awareness. 

I started crying the first week we did it because I saw all the stickers on the cars,” she said. “It feels like we’re being supported when we’ve been turned away a lot.

“The proceeds go to helping other young people with special needs go to a race. We had our very first drawing this past Sunday and provided a young man with Autism tickets to a race – he has never been before.”  

The Cox family can be found every Friday night during racing season at the Moulton Speedway enjoying the family and community dirt racing has provided Kaleb.  

They will hold an event Saturday at AutoZone in Hartselle from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with their car.

“We will hold a drawing for tickets every week in April and we hope to continue for as long as the funds are there,” she said.

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