NASCAR teams up with Autism Speaks at The MetHosted by ESPN personality Mike Tirico, the event featured a NASCAR-heavy guest list that included defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Parker Kligerman, Kyle Larson, Nelson Piquet Jr., Brad Sweet and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison.
By: Staff Report, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
Tuesday night's aptly coined "Speeding for a Cure" event -- a charitable endeavor between NASCAR and Autism Speaks -- raised $1.2 million dollars for children and families affected by autism.
Held at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and his wife Amy co-chaired the annual event with a distinctly NASCAR flare, benefitting Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School, a school dedicated to helping children with special needs.
"In our lifetime, we have a responsibility to be a part of something beyond our own self-interests for the betterment of society and the world," said Amy France during last night’s event. Brian and Amy announced a special donation of $250,000 on behalf of the Luke and Meadow France Foundation, established in 2010 in honor of their children.
Hosted by ESPN personality Mike Tirico, the event featured a NASCAR-heavy guest list that included defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Parker Kligerman, Kyle Larson, Nelson Piquet Jr., Brad Sweet and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison.
The gala marked Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School’s fifth partnership with a professional sports league for the annual event. Previous partners included MLB in 2012, NHL in 2011, NBA in 2010, and NFL from 2006 to 2009.
Last night’s event was the most recent example of the ongoing relationship between NASCAR and Autism Speaks. The spring race at Dover International Speedway has benefitted Autism Speaks each season since 2007, with the Autism Speaks puzzle piece gracing the hood of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota in the 2012 edition.
Joining Brian and Amy France as co-chairs of the event were Autism Speaks Co-Founders Suzanne and Bob Wright, Mel Karmazin, Chairman Emeritus at Gillen Brewer Henry Schacht; former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and Honorary Co-chair and last year’s winner of the annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Lorri Unumb, Vice President, State Government Affairs, Autism Speaks.
"NASCAR has had a consistent connection to autism, not only through our race in Dover but also through our industry members and drivers who have related children affected by the disorder and through support from The NASCAR Foundation," Brian France stated at the event.
With one in every 88 children in the U.S. diagnosed with autism, organizations like Autism Speaks, The Gillen Brewer School and NASCAR hope that by collaborating together they can make the world a little better for those children and their families that are affected by Autism.