Charity work precedes race for NASCAR drivers

NASCAR champion Tony Stewart’s first job out of high school 20 years ago was washing cars near his home in Indiana.

His early career decision offered flexible hours that freed him up to race whenever he wanted. The move proved as clever as the ones he lays down on a racetrack in his No. 14 Chevrolet.

Stewart didn’t make much at the car wash, but he has earned NASCAR teams for which he has driven more than $70 million since 1999.

On a warm Thursday afternoon, Stewart put his car-washing experience to good use at Henderson’s Coronado High School. The event was a racer’s triple crown: He promoted a sponsor, met with fans and raised money for a good cause.

Through his Tony Stewart Foundation, Armor All car care products — one of Stewart’s sponsors — presented a $10,000 check to the school for its general fund.

Stewart’s foundation has raised several million dollars over the past few years. Other drivers also capitalize on their fame to help needy causes.

"When you become part of the NASCAR family you realize how much everyone in NASCAR cares about the communities where we race," Stewart, 37, said during a break between washing a Toyota and a giant truck that appeared to have been rolled in mud.

"Things like this show everyone we’re real people — that we don’t mind getting wet or dirty," he added, with pant legs soaked to mid-calf.

Athletes who make a living with balls and sticks are known to rest the day before major competitions. Usually, they’ll stay away from exertion — and crowds.

That method of preparation, though, hasn’t trickled down to NASCAR drivers.

Stewart wasn’t the only star racer devoting part of Thursday to meeting fans, helping others and promoting this weekend’s racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which begins at noon today with practice and qualifying for the Shelby 427:

Former Formula One driver Scott Speed, a California native, joined with several NASCAR Raybestos rookies in the afternoon at the ESPN Zone inside New York New York to reward 50 children from the Las Vegas Boys and Girls Clubs with a racers-prepared meal, souvenirs and an hour of play on video games.

Greg Biffle and Elliott Sadler were among racers in the Sprint Cup series in the evening at Sam’s Town Live to raise money for the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities with the 11th annual NASCAR Driver Auction. More than $100,000 was raised a year ago.

Las Vegas native Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, hosted peers Jamie McMurray, Sam Hornish Jr., David Stremme, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Biffle in the "Sprint for the Kids" fundraiser for the Kurt Busch Foundation.

At the ESPN Zone, Speed teamed with Michael Annett, who will compete in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide Series race, to win the Raybestos cook-off. They made meat sauce with elbow macaroni, garlic onions and mozzarella. It was picked the best by the kids.

"I cook pasta real good," said Speed, 25, a Cup rookie for the Red Bull Racing team. "That’s what I eat after a bike ride in the afternoon. I can cook pasta with tomato sauce and salad.

"Kids judging this is really cool."

In 2005 and ’06, Speed competed in Formula One — the world’s most popular and richest series that races cars similar to those used in the Indianapolis 500 — before returning home to begin racing stock cars.

He went from racing in Monaco and Monza, Italy, and dining in the world’s finest restaurants to racing in Talladega, Ala., and Darlington, S.C., where fried turkey legs rank as haute cuisine.

In Formula One, Speed says, he rarely was asked to make public appearances or promote sponsors.

"Formula One is more focused on the racing than pleasing sponsors or making appearances," he said. "There never were autograph sessions.

"It’s a lot more fun in NASCAR because we get more interaction with the fans."

Cup driver Kasey Kahne found a unique way to spend some time Thursday. And he was thankful that he didn’t need help from a foundation.

Kahne — all 5 feet 8 inches and 150 pounds — spent an hour with mixed martial arts stars Forrest Griffin and Wanderlei Silva to film a segment for Sunday’s race, which will telecast on Fox (Ch. 5).

"I held back a little with Wanderlei," Kahne, 28, joked of the simulated fight he had with the Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship combatant.

"Actually, he could have killed me at any time."

The encounters in the UFC Octagon might lead to a joint effort between a driver and the UFC to raise funds for injured American soldiers.

"It’s easy as a race car driver to lose perspective if you have a bad weekend and it’s like your whole world is collapsing," Speed said.

"All of us are really lucky to be doing what we do even when we have a bad day."

Jeff Wolf’s motor sports column is published Friday. He can be reached at 383-0247 or Visit for more NASCAR and racing news.

A record breaking donation of nearly $9 million to Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada
A record breaking donation of property valued at nearly $9 million was made to the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada by the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal. @bizutesfaye
Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christmas Tree Inspection
Nevada Division of Forestry employees search for illegally harvested Christmas trees in local lots during the holidays. (Michael Scott Davidson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead in a suspected DUI crash in east Las Vegas
The crash was reported just before 4:10 a.m. at Washington and Eastern avenues.
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like