Solar energy power system installer Solar-Fit for several years has sponsored young race car driver Daniel Dye of DeLand. But recently, the Holly Hill-based company has decided to increase its support for a cause near and dear to Dye — the “Race to Stop Suicide.”

Dye, a 16-year-old junior at Father Lopez High School and a son of Daytona Beach car dealer Randy Dye, has been raising donations and public awareness for the suicide-prevention initiative established in 2019 by the Halifax Health Foundation.

Solar-Fit has been a named sponsor of Dye’s team and has been supporting Dye for many years in his rise through the racing ranks. But after a three-day race weekend at New Smyrna Speedway in mid-November, Solar-Fit president and CEO Bill Gallagher decided more should be done.

“I’ve had friends and relatives who have committed suicide,” Gallagher told The Beacon. “It’s a terrible thing, and nobody ever wants to talk about it. But we want to let people know it’s not something to be ashamed of.”

So, through next March, Gallagher decided Solar-Fit would make a $500 contribution to the “Race to Stop Suicide” program in the name of each homeowner and/or business owner who invests in a Solar-Fit solar power system.

“We’re hoping that by the end of March, we will have donated $30,000,” Gallagher said. “If we’re successful, we will probably extend it.”

Dye came in second in the 55th annual Florida Governor’s Cup stock car race at New Smyrna Speedway Nov. 12. But the bigger news for him was that the Hart family who owns the half-mile track dedicated the entire three days of racing to raising awareness for suicide prevention.

More significantly, the Hart family renamed the 200-lap Super Late Model race “The Halifax Health Race to Stop Suicide 55th Annual Florida Governor’s Cup Race.”

Randy Dye is the owner of Daytona Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. The elder Dye told The Beacon this is his son’s second full year of racing to support the suicide-prevention program at the Halifax Health Foundation, but it’s a cause Randy Dye has long supported.

“Now, with COVID-19, suicide rates are up 80 percent from pre-pandemic levels,” Dye said. “That’s just unacceptable.”

Dye said when he mentioned the program to his then-14-year-old son, it was a very difficult topic to broach. To his surprise, Daniel was eager to support the cause.

“He said, ‘We’ve got to do it’ because he had already talked one of his friends out of suicide,” Dye said. “He said, ‘Nobody ever talks about it until it happens.’ … So we’re trying to get out in front, make it OK to talk and do something about it.”

Daniel Dye Racing is the young racer’s own team, but he also races for Ben Kennedy Racing. Kennedy is the vice president of racing development for NASCAR and the son of Lesa France Kennedy, NASCAR’s executive vice chairwoman.