Drivers get charitable with foundations

Unquestionably, NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers have some of the most

hectic schedules in the sport.

Just look at what they accomplish week to week. Not only do

they bounce all over the country for primarily three-day race

weekends, they also watch obligations shave away their remaining

free moments. They make appearances. They film commercials. They

meet with their teams. They race around from event to event,

working in time with family or to relax.

And then, when they have a moment to breathe, many think of

others. Drivers across the sport have created foundations or

projects aimed at giving back to one or more charities. They work

with children, animals and camps. They raise funds for hospital

wings, chronically ill children and injured drivers in lower

series. They visit and chat and race in the name of the charity of

their choice.

They give back.

In an era when volunteerism is being touted nationally,

NASCAR drivers are leading the way for a variety of causes.

Championing those less fortunate than themselves has become a

growing force among drivers and the sanctioning body itself, which

embraces those foundations and its own initiatives through the

NASCAR Foundation.

Virtually every Cup driver has been involved in some type of

charity activity, either through the NASCAR Foundation or his own

efforts.

In addition to the drivers who do work through their

foundations are a series of other efforts and endeavors. Jeff

Burton has a longtime involvement with Duke Children’s Hospital.

Clint Bowyer has been actively involved in projects in his hometown

of Emporia, Kan. Carl Edwards participated in the attempt to drive

a Ford Hybrid 1,000 miles to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes

Research Foundation. Scott Speed served as a spokesperson for the

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Regan Smith supported

the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation, which

provides funding to children’s charities in North Carolina.

Kevin Harvick now works with “Kevin’s Krew,” an outreach

program in partnership with sponsor Shell Oil Co. that exposes

students to the racing industry.

“Kevin’s Krew is basically a group of challenged or

underprivileged kids that come to the race track that the local

police department started near Fontana (California) and they

basically bring anywhere from 20 to 80 kids to the track and let

them get away from their environment and put them in an environment

that impresses them enough to go out and do things that are fun and

to be in an environment that is safe and put a good influence on

their lives,” Harvick says.

“So, we do that about eight times a year and the local

police departments handle that and bring the kids to the track and

they have a great time with it. So it’s fun to see the smiles on

the kids faces.”

Kasey Kahne agrees. He’s hosted racing events to benefit his

Foundation, inviting other drivers to participate. In most cases,

when one driver holds an event, others show up to support it or to

race in it. Kahne says that he enjoys hosting the events.

“Hopefully we can keep supporting that and raising money and

putting smiles on kids faces,” he said of one of his events.

Some drivers support causes close to them, either through

knowing or being in close contact with someone directly effected by

it. Others are impacted by personal encounters in their own lives.

All share a common goal, though, of reaching out and helping others

in any way they can – even in a sport where schedules are

tight.

In NASCAR, not only do the drivers talk about giving back to

the fans – they back up their words through the support they

show to a variety of causes and charities.

Here’s a look at some of the driver foundations and what

they benefit.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.gregbifflefoundation.com/">Greg Biffle

Foundation: Founded in 2005 by Biffle and his wife, Nicole, the

organization focuses on advocating for the well-being of animals.

The Foundation offers grants for animal shelters and humane

societies and raises funds through the sale of an annual Pet

Calendar featuring NASCAR personalities and their pets.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.kurtbusch.com/foundation/">Kurt Busch

Foundation: The organization’s mission is to aid groups

involved in health care, education, career training and

rehabilitation. Busch has been actively involved in the Victory

Junction Gang Camp, which is home to the Kurt Busch Superdome, an

indoor sports facility. He also hosts an annual “Sprint for the

Kids” in Las Vegas.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.kylebuschfoundation.org/">Kyle Busch

Foundation: The foundation primarily supports children’s homes

throughout the country. It has worked to renovate some facilities

and hosted events as fundraisers as well as bringing children to

tracks.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.thedalejrfoundation.org/">Dale JR

Foundation: Earnhardt Jr. is actively involved in Make-A-Wish

and the Victory Junction Gang Camp through the foundation.

Fundraising events are held annually to help benefit these and

other causes the group supports.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.jeffgordonfoundation.org/">Jeff Gordon

Foundation: Aimed at helping children, the foundation has

raised more than $7 million in financial support for various

charities, according to its Web site. Gordon has gone a step

further, too, supporting the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in

Concord, N.C., Make-A-Wish and working with marrow donor

recruitment. He has raised money through various events, including

a go-kart contest.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.dennyhamlinfoundation.org/">Denny Hamlin

Foundation: The organization focuses primarily on raising

awareness and funding for the specific needs of individuals

afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis. He has hosted fundraising races and

gone an extra step for fans, giving away tickets to races.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.samhornish.com/sam/index.cfm?cid=2907&subnavkey=foundation">Sam

Hornish Jr. Foundation: Hornish’s foundation lists a sweeping

array of beneficiaries, including a senior center in his home town

of Defiance, Ohio, in memory of his grandmother. He has also been

involved with Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Hospital for Children

and a host of other projects.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org/">Jimmie

Johnson Foundation: Since its inception in 2006, the group has

donated more than $3 million to various organizations, according to

its Web site. Some of its key projects include helping schools

through the Lowe’s Toolbox for Educations Champions Grants and the

Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically ill children, which now

includes the Jimmie Johnson’s Victory Lanes bowling alley.

href="http%3C/a%3E://kaseykahnefoundation.org/">Kasey Kahne

Foundation: Created in 2005, the organization’s focus is on

chronically ill children and their families and disadvantaged

youth. Kahne hosts annual racing events as part of the foundation’s

fundraising efforts.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.bobbylabonte.com/foundation.php">Bobby

Labonte Foundation: Founded in 2003, Labonte’s organization

focuses on charitable groups that aid children. It supports Victory

Junction Gang Camp as well as the North Carolina Quarter Midget

Association, among other causes.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.formulasonrisas.com/en/">Formula Smiles

Foundation: Formed by Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife, Connie,

the organization works to use sports to improve the quality of life

of children in Montoya’s native Colombia in “vulnerable

situations.” The organization has hosted a series of golf

tournaments as well as a Gala in Miami, among other projects, to

support its cause.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.jamiemcmurray.com/foundation/">Jamie

McMurray Foundation: The organization is involved in

fundraising for the research, education and support of individuals

and families impacted by autism. McMurray has hosted golf

tournaments as part of its effort.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.ryannewmanfoundation.org/">Ryan Newman

Foundation: Founded by Ryan and his wife, Krissie, the

multi-faceted foundation participates in programs including

spaying/neutering pets, conservation projects and scholarship

funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program. The Newmans

have funded a North Carolina spay/neuter clinic as well as been

active partners in pet adoption programs. They help support the

organization through a pair of “Pit Road Pets” books featuring

NASCAR personalities and their pets that are available through the

Web site.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.sadlerfoundation.org/main.shtml">The

Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation: The foundation works to

raise awareness of autism while promoting research for a cure and

working with the families of autistic children. Bowling events and

an annual party with fans and country music singers are the group’s

premier events.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.davidreutimann.com/foundation.html">David

Reutimann Foundation: Reutimann’s organization has a broad

mission plan of aiding children, families and individuals through

donations to organizations. Each year Reutimann hosts a cookout,

auction and golf tournament in his home town of Zephyrhills, Fla.,

to benefit various charities.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.tonystewartfoundation.org/">Tony Stewart

Foundation: The Foundation aims to raise and donate funds to

help care for both critically ill children – Stewart is a

co-founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp – and drivers

who are injured in racing, as well as other causes. Stewart has

committed millions to the camp and other endeavors and the funds

raised through his annual Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway

help programs he supports.

href="http%3C/a%3E://www.martintruexjrfoundation.org/">Martin Truex

Jr. Foundation: Aimed at reaching out to children, Truex has

created the Teddy Bear Campaign, pajama drives and is actively

involved in a children’s advocacy center in North Carolina. Truex

hosts an annual poker tournament as well as other fundraising

campaigns.

href="http%3C/a%3E://foundation.nascar.com/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?&pid=183&srcid=183">NASCAR

Foundation: The organization supports a wide range of charities

that “reflect the core values of the entire NASCAR family.” While

it is involved in numerous events, from blood drives to building

children’s playgrounds to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the

organization is perhaps best known for its annual, “NASCAR Day.”

This year’s NASCAR Day, May 21, will support “renovation and race

theme decoration of a portion of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood

Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in Atlanta;

partnering with Bank of America for a racing-themed educational

initiative at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach,

Fla.; working with Sprint, Inc. for a playground build at the

Kansas City Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City, Mo.; A Place for

Hope project outside Charlotte, N.C., and a youth initiative at

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.”

*Source: Foundation information based on official Web sites for

each.