NASCAR Dream Becomes A Reality For Young Southern Californian
The Auto Club Speedway, The NASCAR Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire joined forces last week to grant the wish of a seven-year-old Apple Valley resident who wanted to meet his idol, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. Evan, who suffers from leukemia, is an avid NASCAR fan. His wish came true when he traveled to Darlington last week to attend the NASCAR race and meet Stewart face-to-face.
Evan and his family were the guests of Darlington Raceway during the May 9-11 race weekend leading up to Saturday night's Sprint Cup race. Their experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the excitement of NASCAR up close. They went behind the scenes in the garage, watched qualifying and practice sessions, attended the drivers' meeting and stood on stage for pre-race driver introductions. Once the race started, Evan and his family watched the action in the Raceway President's suite. But the highlight of the weekend was Evan's meeting with two-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart.
"We were honored to have Evan and his family here at the track," said Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning. "It was inspiring to see his love for our sport, and to see how the NASCAR family came together to grant his wish. Auto Club Speedway, the NASCAR Foundation, the Darlington staff, and of course, Tony Stewart. We all support the Make-a-Wish-Foundation and the amazing work they do. Thanks to them, Evan had an experience that he will remember forever."
Evan's visit to Darlington kicked off the Auto Club Speedway's celebration of NASCAR Day, which takes place on Friday, May 16, 2008. Celebrated annually, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations to help those in need. This year, The NASCAR Foundation and Auto Club Speedway have selected the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire as the recipient of NASCAR Day donations. Contributions collected through May 18 at Stater Bros. Supermarkets, as well as those made online or at the track, will benefit both Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire and The NASCAR Foundation.
"I am so proud that our support of The Make-A-Wish Foundation helped make Evan's dream come true," said Gillian Zucker, president of Auto Club Speedway. "I hope that NASCAR's Southern California fans will join us in supporting this amazing organization. There are thousands of kids like Evan, and we have the ability to bring some extra joy into their lives by granting their wishes."
Evan's wish will culminate with a welcome home celebration in Los Angeles for him and his family on NASCAR Day, Friday May 16. Fans who attend the NASCAR Day festivities can hear more about Evan's weekend in Darlington, see NASCAR showcars, and test their skills in a special Pit Crew Tire Challenge. For more information visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/NASCARday or call (909) 429-5000.
NASCAR Day collectable lapel pins are available for a $5 donation at all area Stater Bros. through May 18, 2008. They can also be purchased at the Auto Club Speedway, or online at www.autoclubspeedway.com/NASCARday.