Tony Stewart to be Honored at the 36th Annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala
CONCORD, N.C. (March 16, 2016) - The 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children's Charities Gala presented by The NRA Teach Freedom Foundation will recognize one of NASCAR's great philanthropists during a truly unforgettable evening on Wednesday, May 25. Tony Stewart will be honored for his successes on and off the track, including his incredible contributions to Speedway Children's Charities across all eight Speedway Motorsports chapters.
Stewart announced last year that 2016 would be his final season as a NASCAR driver, with the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion transitioning full-time into the role of owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, the title-winning Sprint Cup team he co-owns with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation.
Stewart will never be far from the racetrack, be it in NASCAR or in the other realms of motorsports where he has a presence.
His sprint car team, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), fields an entry for seven-time and reigning World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz. And in addition to TSR, Stewart also owns the legendary Eldora Speedway. The half-mile dirt oval is where Stewart frequently raced as an up-and-coming USAC driver, and it hosts several of the year's largest dirt racing events, including the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - the only national NASCAR touring series race on dirt.
But as impressive as Stewart's legacy is behind the wheel, his efforts outside the car are equally noteworthy. "For more than 15 years Stewart has wowed NASCAR fans across the country, but he rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts," said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children's Charities. "The gala will be 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."
Since 2009, Stewart has raised more than $1 million for Speedway Children's Charities with his annual "Smoke Show" event. This day-long stock-car fantasy camp gives attendees a chance to drive a stock car around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with personal instruction from Stewart, as well as enjoy a three-lap ride-a-long around the oval's high banks.
Stewart is also an annual participant in SCC's "Ride of a Lifetime" promotion. This online auction allows fans to bid on a chance to ride in the back of a pick-up truck with their favorite driver during the pre-race parade at speedways around the country. Stewart has participated in this fundraiser at each of the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities.
"The 'Smoke Show' and 'Ride of a Lifetime' fundraisers give me the opportunity to meet some amazing fans, all while having fun for a very worthy cause," Stewart said. "Speedway Children's Charities benefits thousands of kids every year, and I'm honored the organization would recognize me for the small role I played during my NASCAR career."
The Ritz-Carlton in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina will host the annual black-tie fundraising event. NBC Sports personality Krista Voda will serve as the emcee. The evening will include live music, exquisite food and silent and live auctions, featuring special vacation packages and exclusive autographed sports memorabilia, among other items. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The Speedway Children's Charities Gala is among the top fundraising events in the area, with proceeds going to the grant program of Speedway Children's Charities' Charlotte Chapter.
Speedway Children's Charities is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Bruton Smith in 1982. Since then, it has raised over $46 million for other worthy nonprofit organizations across the United States.
For more information about Speedway Children's Charities and how you can get involved, visit www.speedwaycharities.org/.
About Speedway Children's Charities:
The mission of Speedway Children's Charities remains true to the ideals it was founded upon in 1982: To care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. SCC provides funding for hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout the nation that meet the direct needs of children. Our vision is that every child has the same opportunities no matter what obstacle they are facing.