Kyle Petty Brings Back Dream Team Challenge; Smoke Saves a Dog and Dale Jr. Sports Foundation Logo

Kyle Petty’s charity motorcycle ride is still going strong in its 15th year. For 2009, the ride brings back its grassroots Dream Team Challenge to support Victory Junction. Then, after the jump, Stewart and Dale Jr. show off the good in sport.

Kyle Petty Charity Ride

Kyle Petty: The 15th Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is challenging community members along the 2009 Ride route to take part in a grassroots awareness and fundraising effort. The funds raised through the second annual Charity Ride Dream Team Challenge will support Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Prior to the Ride’s arrival in these cities, community members are invited to form “Dream Teams” to raise funds for and awareness of the Ride and its beneficiaries. Dream Teams will be invited to present donations to Kyle Petty and Ride participants at special events along the Ride route (Kyle Petty Charity Ride). [Read more…]

A Busy Weekend in Atlanta for Racing Community

NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Bobby Labonte made school visits in the Atlanta area while they were in town for the race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kasey Kahne threw a concert, and Jeff Gordon gets to look forward to picking up a Boy Scouts of America award. It doesn’t stop at that. There’s more after the jump.

Scoring for Schools

Jimmie Johnson: Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson was pushing sponsor Kobalt Tools’ Tough Tools for Cool Schools program this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last Friday, Johnson visited an Atlanta area high school to donate a set of Kobalt Tools. Under the program, Lowe’s, Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA have partnered to provide approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt Tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA Building and Construction Trade Classes and Labs across the country. [Read more…]

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

The 24 Hours of Booty tops this week’s news bytes. The official 24 hour cycling event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation is getting some help from NASCAR driver and avid cyclist Bobby Labonte. After the jump, we’ve got bytes on LeBron James, Brandon Webb, Diego and others.

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24 Hours of Booty: 24 Hours of Booty, which runs the Official 24-Hour Cycling Event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the only 24-hour road cycling charity event in the country, has partnered with NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte’s Breaking Limits marketing agency to help acquire new corporate partnerships. Labonte: “I’m an avid cyclist, and a supporter of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG campaign, so the 24 Hours of Booty rides truly align with what I believe in and support” (24 Hours of Booty).

Take the jump to read more of this week’s bytes. [Read more…]

Jeff Gordon Gets a Role in Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary Cemmomoration

Sesame Street

During Fox’ coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., last Sunday, NASCAR on Fox Analyst Darrell Waltrip mentioned that four-time champ Jeff Gordon will be featured in an future Sesame Street show (NASCAR on Fox). [Read more…]

Quick Hits: Jimmie Johnson Stops By Habitat Homes in California; Red Sox Hit the Links

Jimmie Johnson Foundation

This weekend’s NASCAR stop at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., gives three-time defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson the chance to return his roots.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Bill Center wrote that “as usual, Johnson is visiting the site of the four Habitat for Humanity homes his foundation is building near downtown El Cajon” (Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/19).

Red Sox: What’s a trip Florida without a little bit of golf? The Boston Red Sox are taking a break from spring training today to participate in the 16th annual Red Sox Hit the Links Tournament to support the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona: “It’s for a good cause. We’re raising a lot of money for charity and it’s something we do with a smile” (Joe McDonald, Providence Journal, 2/20).

Richard Childress’ Humanitarian Honors Help Pediatric Institute Reap Financial Support

Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma

After NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress racked up two humanitarian awards since December for his work with the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, the institute has earned significant recent financial contributions.

The institute received a $1 million commitment from Bass Pro Shops Founder & CEO John Morris, and a $1 million pledge has been made by a private family foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. Also, the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Foundation made a $250,000 commitment to the institute for research and expansion of programs in pediatric trauma care.

Childress said that funding for research and care for critically injured children lags behind funds directed toward other causes of childhood death, even though traumatic injuries claim more children’s lives than all other causes combined. Childress: “For every man, woman and child in America, the government spends nine cents on childhood trauma, and that’s the No. 1 killer of our children.”

Childress was honored with the 2008 NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award and the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center).

Daytona’s Annual Speedweeks is a Big Time for Local Charities; Atlanta Announces Hotel Program

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With the NASCAR crowd in Daytona for this season’s Speedweeks, the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Deborah Circelli writes that “some nonprofits, school groups and other organizations are also cashing in.”

Circelli: “A game of golf, signing autographs or just making an appearance at a charity event may not seem like a big deal for NASCAR drivers. But to local charities hurting from fewer donations and higher demand for services, it’s a much needed infusion of cash.”

In 2008, “about $820,000 was raised” for charities at Daytona International Speedway, “mainly coming from concession sales by volunteers for charities.” That number “doesn’t include the charity events in and away from the track.”

United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties President Ray Salazar, whose group “raises $60,000 to $70,000 a year” parking cars, said, “If a charity doesn’t have something organized to make an appeal, then they are not doing what they should be doing. It’s a big time for the charities” (Deborah Circelli, Daytona Beach News-Journal, 2/11). Read Circelli’s entire piece from Daytona Beach News-Journal

Fan Friendly: In an effort to make attending NASCAR races more economically feasible for fans, Atlanta Motor Speedway has partnered with local hotels to offer fans discounted room rates for its March race weekend. Cooperating hotels will not require multiple-night stays and will provide locked-in rates through the promotion code “AMS Discount” (Atlanta Motor Speedway).

NASCAR Car Builder Mark Smith Now Building Replicas for Young Patients in Children’s Hospitals

In Charlotte, David Poole noted that former Penske Championship Racing car builder Mark Smith has started Children’s Dream Racer to build miniature replica race cars “for children’s hospitals or facilities where young patients sometimes have to remain relatively still – for chemotherapy, respiratory treatments or other procedures.”

Children's Dream Racer

Poole added that “a computer monitor is mounted to the hood and connected to a video game and DVD system – a diversion from the treatment a child might endure. There is a spot for an oxygen bottle and a slot on the roll cage for a pole to hold intravenous fluids.”

The Big Idea: Smith, explaining where the idea came from, said, “Years back, I had a deal to re-theme McDonald’s restaurants with a racing theme. We put in show cars and pit carts, and they wanted a little car kids could sit in to have dinner. So I built the first car. But when I took it to them, they decided it … took up too much floor space.”

Then, Poole noted, a friend “suggested the hole for the oxygen bottle. That led to the spot for the IV pole.” Smith: “Everything just progressed along, and it still is. Everybody who sees it says, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ The answer is, I hadn’t thought of it.”

The First: NASCAR driver David Reutimann, who is donating the first Dream Racer to St. Petersburg’s All Children’s Hospital, said, “It’s just a pretty neat little deal. Now it’s about getting these cars in hospitals and making people aware of them. I’d love to see eight or 10 of them in some places with different logos of different drivers. That would be awesome” (David Poole, Charlotte Observer, 2/4). Read the entire article from Charlotte Observer

Photo credit: Children’s Dream Racer

Childress Gets Tribute Award; Lance Supports Tobacco Ban; Joyner in Tampa

Richard Childress

NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress accepted the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award on Monday at the third annual NCMA industry awards ceremony in Concord, N.C.

Childress was recognized for his accomplishments in motorsports, his compassion and philanthropic efforts off the track, and for his individual integrity and character (NCMA).

Lance Armstrong: The AP’s Jim Vertuno reports that cycing Lance Armstrong scheduled today “to appear at a news conference to release public polling data showing widespread support for a ban on smoking in public places.” The bill “would ban smoking in all public and indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars.”

Armstrong: “This is an issue of people’s rights. Nobody’s saying you can’t smoke a cigarette, but you don’t have to do it around me and my kids” (Jim Vertuno, AP, 1/29). Read the entire AP piece

Seth Joyner: Retired NFL player Seth Joyner, who spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, hosted The Par and Poker Celebrity Challenge for Charity today in Tampa. The event consisted of two parts: an 18-hole golf tournament and a No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker tournament.

The event benefits the Joyner-Walker Foundation, a Phoenix-based charity co-founded by Joyner that is dedicated to providing life skill programs to assist high school and college students in a way to prosper and be self sufficient (Joyner-Walker Foundation).

Photo credit: Richard Childress Racing

Regional NASCAR Driver Racing for Autism; Talladega Helps Organizations Raise $580k

Race for Autism

In California, James Burns writes that 51Fifty Racing Owner/driver Carlos Vieira, who competes on on NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series, will donate all of his 2009 winnings to Race for Autism, “a fundraising effort he began after a series of long, emotional chats” with the mother of an autistic child (James Burns, Merced Sun-Star, 1/28). Read the entire article from the Merced Sun-Star

Talladega 580: Talladega Superspeedway announced that service groups throughout the region raised more than $580,000 as result of their members’ volunteer efforts during Talladega Superspeedway’s two major race weekends in 2008 (Talladega Superspeedway).

Photo credit: 51Fifty Racing

Mutombo Hosting DC Party; Hamm’s Event Nears $200k; More Barrett-Jackson News

Dikembe Mutombo Foundation

NBA player Dikembe Mutombo is hosting a Presidential Inauguration party tonight in DC. Mutombo’s Party with a Purpose event is benefiting the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which provides comprehensive and innovative public health services in Africa to address urgent medical needs and preventable diseases (Dikembe Mutombo Foundation).

Hamm’s Soccer Challenge: MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger covered the Mia Hamm/Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge on Saturday, and wrote that the event “raised nearly $200,000” for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation. The event also “encouraged the thousands of fans in attendance to register” for the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.

At halftime, “patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases were introduced for the first time to their bone marrow donors.”

Hamm: “The more we can spread the word, the better. We can’t do justice by just verbalizing, so stopping and registering can save a life. And we saw that today” (Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com, 1/17). Read the entire article from MLB.com

Auction Block: As previously reported on Progress Avenue, last weekend’s Barrett-Jackson auction raised over $1 million for the Hendrick Marrow Program and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. In Phoenix, Cathy Luebke noted that the Darrell Gwynn Foundation “raised another $165,000 Sunday as … Tony Stewart’s 2007 Monte Carlo hit the block.” Meanwhile, Jack Roush’s 2008 Roush Mustang GT “brought in $100,000” for Speedway Children’s Charities.

Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis: “In today’s unique economic environment, these groups need extra support to continue changing lives” (Cathy Luebke, Phoenix Business Journal, 1/18). Read the entire article from Phoenix Business Journal

Barrett-Jackson Auction Nets Over $1 Million for Two Organizations; Talladega Honored

Barrett-Jackson

During the annual Barrett-Jackson collector car auction yesterday in Scottsdale, Ariz., two cars were sold to benefit organizations connected with individuals involved in motorsports.

A 1970 Plymouth Superbird Richard Petty Custom Tribute fetched $551,100 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, which will use the funds to benefit spinal cord research. Meanwhile, one of Hendrick Motorsports’ 2006 No. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Monte Carlo racecars sold for $550,000, with proceeds go to the Hendrick Marrow Program (Barrett-Jackson).

Super Speedway: Talladega Superspeedway received the Community Service Award from the Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce this week. The award recognizes businesses for their contributions to the community and betterment of the Talladega area (Talladega Superspeedway).