Motorsports: Science Foundation Using NASCAR to Teach Students; Autism Awareness Month Gets a Push

Science of Speed

Who says NASCAR just goes around in circles? The National Science Foundation is tapping into the science of the sport to help improve students’ test scores. Also, Autism Awareness Month is prominent in the NASCAR circle (no pun intended), as two organizations are doing their part to support the cause. Then there’s notes on Ambrose, Gwynn, Petty and Hamlin.

The Science of Speed: The National Science Foundation has partnered with NASCAR to release a new online series of videos called The Science of Speed with the hopes of improving science scores among students grades 8-12. The video series reveals the sophisticated science and engineering behind NASCAR racing to teach science.

NASCAR racecars double as science experiments that illustrate basic concepts of friction, safety, sound and other elements of racing at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Teachers and students can download the videos for free from NSF’s new website, Science360.gov (NASCAR).

Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Lowe’s Motor Speedway is honoring Autism Awareness Month by contributing $10 from every ticket sold to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 from April 3 – April 11, to Autism Speaks.

Lowe’s Motor Speedway President & GM Marcus Smith: “Autism affects millions of families around the world, including many of our great fans. We’ve worked with local non-profit groups that help children with autism and their families through Speedway Children’s Charities. Now we’ve decided to significantly expand those efforts to help Autism Speaks increase awareness of the disorder and raise funds to help find a cure. FOX and SPEED are working with us this weekend to help get the word out to race fans so we can try to raise as much as possible for this great cause” (Lowe’s Motor Speedway).

Elliot Sadler: For the month of April, NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler will be wearing a specially-designed autism awareness helmet for Autism Awareness Month. The helmet features the familiar multi-colored puzzle pieces that have become the symbol for autism awareness, along with the arrow pointing forward that is prominently placed on every Sadler helmet. Following the month of April the helmet will go up for online auction at SadlerFoundation.org to raise money that will directly benefit The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation and autism related charities (Sadler Foundation).

Marcos Ambrose: NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose is hoping to make a difference for a volunteer fire brigade that was pushed to the limits during recent devastating Victorian bush fires with the auctioning of a autographed race helmet. Ambrose has been continually promoting the fund-raising message for the Australian Red Cross in the United States and Australia through the general media and a direct link off his website marcosambrose.com.

The auction, which ends April 6, will consist of Ambrose’s race-worn helmet as well as a Yarra Glen Volunteer Fire Brigade outer jacket, which was worn by Teear during the recent fires and personally signed by all the brigade members (Marcos Amrbose).

Darrell Gwynn Foundation

Darrell Gwynn: The Darrell Gwynn Foundation will benefit from the auction of Mike Ashley’s 2007 Custom Nitro Funny Car at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction. The same car sold for $130,000 at the 2008 Barrett-Jackson’s auction in Scottsdale. The car was donated back to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation by a noted collector and contributor to the Foundation.

Proceeds will support the Foundation’s paralysis prevention, care and advocacy work (Darrell Gwynn Foundation).

Petty Charity Ride: NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, set for this May, have set up a Facebook page to engage people to lend their support for the ride. Funds raised will support the Victory Junction Gang (Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America).

Hamlin vs. Witten: In Texas, Matt Crider reported that on April 1, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten “raced members of the local media” on a kart track after Hamlin unveiled the special March of Dimes paint scheme that he will run in two weeks at Phoenix International Raceway (Matt Crider, Denton Record Chronicle, 4/2).

NASCAR Family of Charities: NASCAR.com published a list of the NASCAR Foundations, family of Charities. The NASCAR Foundation supports charities created by members of the NASCAR Family that benefit a wide variety of people and causes. These organizations demonstrate the many passions and interests that drivers, teams and industry members have away from the racetrack.

The list includes Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation, The Dale Jr. Foundation, Denny Hamlin Foundation, Ernie Irvan Race2Safety Foundation, Formula Smiles Foundation, The Greg Biffle Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program, Hermie & Elliott Sadler Foundation, Kyle Busch Foundation, Jamie McMurray Foundation, The Jeff Gordon Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, The Kasey Kahne Foundation, The Kenny Irwin Jr. Foundation, The Kurt Busch Foundation, Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Martinsville Speedway Children’s Foundation, Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, Racing 4 Literacy, Richmond International Raceway Cares, Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity, Roam For A Home Terry Labonte Foundation, The Robbie Loomis Foundation, The Ryan Newman Foundation, The Bobby Scruggs Memorial Foundation, Speediatrics, Speedway Children’s Charities, The Tony Stewart Foundation, Victory Junction, The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports (NASCAR.com, 4/2).