CONCORD, N.C. (May 26, 2016) - On Wednesday, the biggest stars in the NASCAR industry came together for the 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children's Charities' Gala presented by The NRA Teach Freedom Foundation. The fundraising event, which attracted 450 attendees, generated more than $800,000 through table sponsorships and live and silent auctions. Held at the Ritz-Carlton in uptown Charlotte, the black-tie dinner and auction was hosted by NBC's Krista Voda, with entertainment provided by GRAMMY award-winning musician Darius Rucker and special honors bestowed upon NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart.

"Thanks to the tremendous generosity from sponsors and supporters at our gala, we will be able to make a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of children this year," said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of the Speedway Children's Charities. "It's very satisfying to know we raised more than $800,000. Our sponsors, supporters, donors and members of the NASCAR industry have played a big role in helping us do even more to help children. We're very thankful for their efforts."

The night was designed to honor philanthropist Tony Stewart, who is competing in his final season as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Stewart is an accomplished driver with a total of 12 championships to his credit, including three titles in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In addition to being one of the top drivers in the world, Stewart is also a successful businessman, owning race teams and race tracks. Stewart has still taken the time to help raise more than $1 million for Speedway Children's Charities over the years.

"For more than 15 years, Tony has wowed NASCAR fans across the country, but he rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts," Smith said. "The gala was the perfect opportunity for us to thank him for all he's done for Speedway Children's Charities to help children in need around the country."

Gala attendees enjoyed the musical talents of Darius Rucker, who is known for being a GRAMMY award-winning musician and a true southern gentleman. Rucker first attained multi-platinum status in the music industry as former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish. Later, Rucker accomplished what few others are able to achieve by re-introducing himself to the world as a country artist. Since that time, he has released four consecutive albums to top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rucker was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2012, and then in 2014, Rucker won his third career GRAMMY award for Best Solo Country Performance.

Last year, the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities granted almost $750,000 to 77 deserving charities in the Charlotte region. In 2015, the eight chapters of Speedway Children's Charities collectively granted almost $2.9 million to 390 charities to help children. Since Bruton Smith founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1982, the organization has awarded more than $46 million to other nonprofits across the country. Speedway Children's Charities are operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

For more information on Speedway Children's Charities or to see how to volunteer or make a donation, visit