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Missing kids featured on race cars

(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

The photos of two Tampa Bay area missing children will be featured on race cars that will compete in a nationally televised race in Sebring Saturday.

Photos of Zach Bernhardt and Tierney Irwin will be on Porches racing in the 12 Hours of Sebring race at Sebring International Raceway. The race will be carried flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Local Time Warner cable subscribers can tune in to Speed on channel 112. The race also will be shown in Europe.

Zach was 8 years old when he vanished from his Clearwater apartment on Sept. 11, 2000. Though his family believes he was abducted, Clearwater police have said they don't know what happened to the boy.

Tierney, 7, and her older brother were illegally taken from her father's Tampa home on July 13, 2001, by her mother and another. Though the brother was later found in Colorado, Tierney remains missing.

The photos will be on the Chicago-based ZIP Racing team cars. The autos will also advertise a phone number for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1-800-THE-LOST.

Photos of the children are on ZIP Racing's trailer, which serves as a mobile billboard as it crisscrosses North America to other races.

"Hopefully by having these children's photos on the race cars, they'll be shown on TV during the race," said Brad Laney, ZIP Racing's marketing director.

The race cars are the latest of several innovative tools that have been used to try to find Zach Bernhardt. He was featured last summer on Fox Sports Sunday Night Fights programs. His photo also has been featured on mailings.