NASCAR points leader tours SC flood damage
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Sprint Cup points leader Joey Logano stood looking at the two massive breaches along the Columbia Canal caused by the devastating floods in South Carolina earlier this month.
''It's incredible to see this,'' he said quietly.
Logano was on hand Thursday to visit with first responders and workers repairing the waterway that provides clean drinking water to South Carolina's capital city.
''When you think about how close to home this is, to come out here and see some of the damage, it goes straight to your heart,'' said Logano, who sits atop the NASCAR standings with six races left in the season.
Logano, who is heading to the Kansas Speedway on Thursday for Sunday's Sprint Cup race, wanted a firsthand look at some of the damage that had been done by floodwaters nearly two weeks ago.
There were at least 19 deaths attributed to the floods and the weather in South Carolina. Families, cities and counties will continue cleanup and fixing damaged roadways for months.
Logano said he came to Columbia because he saw the disastrous pictures on TV, heard the stories of people who had lost their homes and wanted to help. The Joey Logano Foundation is donating $50,000 to three disaster-relief agencies for those affected by the flood, he said.
''The least we can do is come down here and keep some awareness on this,'' Logano said. ''There are still a lot of people trying to clean up, trying to get their homes straight.''
Logano visited with Columbia firefights and members of the Salvation Army working to feed those spending long hours draining and re-damming the canal. Huge dump trucks full of heavy boulders dropped them in place as Logano watched.
He also visited a neighborhood where many houses and townhomes were deemed unlivable, its residents losing everything they had.
''It's our duty as people, as humans to go help,'' Logano said. ''That's what we're on this earth for.''
The NASCAR driver signed hats for the firefighters and others, then was given a tour of canal area.
Logano won last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, guaranteeing him a spot when the field of 12 championship contenders is cut to eight after races in Kansas and Talladega.
''It was great to win and know what happens the next two weeks won't affect us,'' Logano said.
Also on hand was NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson, who is from Forest Acres, one of hardest hit sections of Columbia. Anderson said his mother's beauty parlor had water near the roof and some of his father's rental properties had flood damage.
Anderson, 24, is in his first full season with his truck team and stands 20th in the points standings. He was returning from the Las Vegas race when he saw the flooding in his hometown.
''It really didn't even sink in at first,'' he said. ''We want to have opportunities for NASCAR to give back and get South Carolina, get Columbia and get Forest Acres back on its feet.''
Darlington Raceway, in the heart of the flooded areas, largely escaped significant damage, said track president Chip Wile.
The raceway had some of its hillside outside of turn four washed away by the heavy rains. There were no structural problems to the track, Wile said.