NBA Cares: Nuggets Host Clinic for Special Olympians; Mavericks Salute Military

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets hosted its Sixth Annual Denver Nuggets Basketball Clinic for Special Olympics Colorado at the Pepsi Center this week. In all, 125 Special Olympians participated in this year’s program.

Special Olympics Colorado VP of Programs Chaka Sutton said, “This basketball clinic just gets better each year. The winter sports season is almost over and our athletes will be playing basketball next; so this is a good way for everyone to get ready for our basketball season.”

Nuggets F Chris Anderson: “”It was great out here today. Not only do the kids get to come out and have a little fun, but we do too. Special Olympics is a great organization and being involved in a program like this is awesome” (Jordan Edwards, Denver Nuggets).

Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks hosted the 5th Annual Seats for Soldiers last month at American Airlines Center for a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. For this event, front row season ticket holders give up their seats to military personnel that have either been wounded in combat or have recently returned home from a year of active duty overseas.

Mavs Salute Soldiers (2:04)

Over 150 soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio attended and were treated to a private flight on American Airlines’ Flagship Freedom, the yellow-ribbon 757 that was unveiled on Veterans’ Day in support of all who serve.

In addition to the courtside seats, the Mavs donated 100 lower-level tickets to soldiers from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (Dallas Mavericks).

Video added to YouTube: December 16, 2008

Stewart Helps Thoroughbred Org; Sauter Visits Fort Bragg; Infineon Raceway Recycling

FFI/TSF

The Tony Stewart Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to Indianapolis-based Friends of Ferdinand Inc. (FFI), a not-for-profit volunteer organization that works with owners and trainers at the state’s two horse tracks to identify and obtain thoroughbreds that are nearing the end of their racing careers. FFI evaluates and retrains the horses, and finds new, forever homes with devoted, caring owners. More than 200 horses have been transitioned from the track into new post-racing life (Indianapolis Motor Speedway).

Military Thanks: NASCAR driver Johnny Sauter, as well as AVP player Angie Akers, recently visited Fort Bragg, NC in support of the Warriors Promise Foundation. The duo made the visit on behalf of sponsor FUBAR energy drink. The Warrior’s Promise Foundation is a non-profit organization with the charter of providing support to the United States military community at the grass roots level. As part of the Warriors Promise Foundation a percentage of all FUBAR sales goes to the members of military communities in need (FUBAR).

Green Room: Infineon Raceway has reaffirmed its position as the recycling leader in the motor-sports industry, collecting more than 17 tons of recyclable materials at its major events during the 2008 racing season. In all, the raceway collected 34,568 pounds of materials at its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, IndyCar® Series and AMA Superbike Series event weekends. That brings the total to more than 73 tons (147,524 pounds) of recyclable materials since the inception of the program in 2004 (Infineon Raceway).

Image credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Paralyzed Veterans of America Extends Petty Enterprises Partnership Through 2009

PVA and the Pettys

Paralyzed Veterans of America has extended its partnership with Petty Enterprises through the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

PVA National President Randy Pleva Sr. said, “Our partnership with Petty Enterprises has been great for Paralyzed Veterans. We’ve seen an increase in awareness about our mission since we aligned with [Richard Petty]. Our continued partnership … will continue to raise awareness of the mission of Paralyzed Veterans and in return increase support and donations and give increased visibility to the men and women who serve our country.”

Over the span of the partnership, Petty has made numerous trips to VA Hospitals across the country, hosted Paralyzed Veterans members at racetracks and attended fundraising events—all in an effort to increase awareness of the altruistic organization.

For the 2009 season, PVA will be featured on a Petty Enterprises Dodge for two races – at Daytona on July 4th and at Texas on Veterans Day. Meanwhile, Richard Petty and son Kyle Petty will co-chair the “Go All In for Veterans” Texas Hold’em poker tournament to be held on February 26 in Las Vegas (Petty Enterprises).

Photo credit: PVA

Operation Homefront: Bidding on a unique racing collectible to support America’s service members and their families ends today on Veterans Day. Robby Gordon and sponsor Jim Beam Bourbon has donated the special edition Operation Homefront race car hood to the organization for an auction on eBay (Robby Gordon Motorsports).

Kahne, Sadler Tout Ronald McDonald House; Roush Fenway Racing Honors Fallen Hero

Kasey Kahne

NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler of Gillett Evernham Motorsports combined efforts to help raise awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) yesterday, benefitting programs to support children and families in need around the world.

Kahne, founder of the Kasey Kahne Foundation, donated $150,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities to support its three core programs: Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. Kahne is a long-time supporter of RMHC, donating $500,000 to date.

During this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sadler’s No. 19 Dodge will sport a special RMHC-themed paint scheme to help raise awareness for the Charity and World Children’s Day at McDonald’s – the company’s largest annual fundraiser for RMHC. The No. 19 Dodge will also feature a special tribute to Paul Newman – famous philanthropist, race car enthusiast and long-time supporter of the RMHC (Gillett Evernham Motorsports).

Army Strong: Roush Fenway Racing will honor Sgt. William P. Rudd this weekend by placing a decal in honor of his memory on David Ragan’s No.6 Ford at Atlanta. Additionally, Atlanta Motor Speedway has donated 200 tickets for members of Sgt. Rudd’s unit to attend Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race. Sgt. Rudd died on October 5, 2008 while on combat patrol in Mosul, Iraq (Roush Fenway Racing).

Safe Driving: In Georgia, Johnny Jackson wrote that NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, “a driver-safety advocate with AT&T, has visited high schools around the country for the past two years, urging students and would-be new drivers of their driving responsibilities.”

Burton: “Every year, high schools across the county lose students because of car accidents. It’s really, really important for you guys to understand [driving …], with it comes a huge responsibility.” Burton’s message: “Just understand that you’re not as good a driver as you really need to be, or will be in the future,” he said. “An automobile is a dangerous thing. It can kill you in the matter of seconds. Be responsible for yourself, and the people with you” (Henry Daily Herald, 10/24).

Photo credit: Nell Redmond

Camo Kids Program Providing Sports Experiences to Children of U.S. Soldiers

Camouflage Kids Fundraising Event Video (4:08)

Camouflage Kids: Support Through Sports is an Indiana-based non-profit organization serving military families of all ranks and branches. By providing an opportunity to the children of our military to visit college campuses and attend athletic events for a game-day experience, our efforts hope to inspire the children academically and athletically. All participants receive game tickets, backpacks, food, t-shirts and wristbands all free of charge along with a campus tour and an opportunity to visit with coaches, college athletic administrators and athletes (Camouflage Kids).

NASCAR News: Drivers Visit Walter Reed; Johnson Racing for Relief in Dover

NASCAR Now Minute: Walter Reed Hospital Visit (3:50)

Several NASCAR drivers and team owners visited soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC yesterday.

Driver Greg Biffle said, “”Everytime I come here, it’s a pretty overwhelming experience. This is my fifth year in a row coming. To see the dedication that these men and women have that have served our country and continue to serve our country, it makes you feel pretty small. Compared to what they have done and what they do for us … its a pretty grounding experience, I think, for all of us” (ESPN.com, 9/18).

Coach Gibbs: In DC, Liz Clarke notes that NASCAR team Owner Joe Gibbs was in DC yesterday and “volunteered at a charity that delivers meals to people living with HIV-AIDS and visited patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.”

Meanwhile, at Food & Friends in Northeast DC, Gibbs “donned an apron and, joined by his son J.D. and NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, began packing grocery bags.” Gibbs’s participation “was meant to highlight the charitable work done by the organization and the support it gets from FedEx, the primary sponsor of one of Gibbs’s race teams” (“Washington Post, 9/19).

Racing for Relief: In response to Hurricane Ike, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jimmie Johnson will once again activate its “Racing for Relief” effort this weekend at Dover International Speedway to help support the American Red Cross. Funds raised will help to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of Hurricane Ike and other 2008 hurricanes.

As part of the effort, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of Johnon’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy, and Lowe’s will donate $48 for every lap of the scheduled 400 laps [could total $19,200] that Johnson completes in Sunday’s race. In addition, if Johnson wins the race, Lowe’s will donate an additional $4,800 (Lowe’s Home Improvement).

Helping Hand: On behalf of sponsors General Mills’ Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” grant program, NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte attended West Virginia’s Pratt Elementary School yesterday for a ribbon cutting ceremony that re-opened a revitalized recreation area. The school received $15,000 to make some much needed improvements to the children’s park. Labonte also signed autographs and raced remote control cars against students and their families (Breaking Limits).

Gillett Evernham Hosts Guard Troops; Red Cross Benefiting From Two Efforts

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off this weekend, Gillett Evernham Motorsports last night hosted soldiers from a local North Carolina National Guard unit that plans to deploy overseas in 2009. More than 100 uniformed troops and their families enjoyed food, pit stop demonstrations, entertainment and employee tours of the race shops. Friday night’s event marks the first public effort of Gillett Evernham Motorsports Soldier Outreach, an employee-created group dedicated to help the men and women along with the families of those in the military. The group plans future fundraisers to aid the unit and its families while the troops are overseas. Gillett Evernham Motorsports fields the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge of Kasey Kahne, the No. 10 Valvoline/Lifelock Dodge of Patrick Carpentier and the No. 19 Best Buy/Stanley Tools/McDonald’s Dodge of Elliott Sadler (GEM).

Lowe’s: Lowe’s Home Improvement and Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson will be “Racing for Relief” at Chicagoland Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July to raise funds for the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy. Lowe’s donated $48 for each lap Johnson completes in the July 12 Chicagoland 400, and will do the same at the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. In addition, if Johnson wins either race, Lowe’s will donate $4,800 per victory (Lowe’s Home Improvement). Note: Johnson completed all 267 laps at Chicagoland, finishing 2nd to winner Kyle Busch. Johnson’s effort raised over $12,000.

3M: American Red Cross supporter 3M has donated 300 tickets to the Great Lakes Blood Services Region to help promote participation in the life-saving collection effort. Through August 7, every person who donates at an American Red Cross blood drive in the Great Lakes region will be entered to win tickets to the August 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo at Michigan International Speedway. Also, Red Cross Racing also will have an exhibit at the 3M Car Care Auto Fair held at the track during the race weekend (3M).

Titans Players Visit 101st Airborne Division of U.S. Army

Titans Online’s Gary Glenn wrote that the Tennessee Titans recently completed their 2008 Caravan tour “with a heart-felt trip” to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, “visiting with soldiers and families of those currently serving the United States overseas.”

Titans LB David Thornton, FB Casey Cramer, CB Reynaldo Hill, S Chris Hope, S Vincent Fuller and S Calvin Lowry made the trip, joining Titans broadcaster Mike Keith, mascot T-Rac, and two Titans cheerleaders “for an entire day on the base.”

Staff Sergeant Samantha Wood: “When stuff like this comes to Fort Campbell, it helps raise the morale of not only the family members, but the soldiers themselves because their family calls them and says, ‘Guess who I saw today?’ There’s been a buzz around here ever since we heard the Titans were coming.”

Thornton: “For us to be here today is an honor. It’s just a blessing to be here and encourage them, but they don’t realize how much they encourage us. Most of the guys on our team have been through rehab at some point, so we can relate to each other on that front. But it means more to us that they go out and represent our country the way they do so we can have the freedoms that we have” (Titans Online, 5/1).