by John Bisci
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities will hold its annual NASCAR Driver Auction at Sam’s Town Live!, inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
The following NASCAR drivers have agreed to participate in the auction: Scott Wimmer, Kyle Petty, David Green, Stacy Compton, Clint Bowyer, Jon Wood, Ashton Lewis, Jason Keller, Randy LaJoie, Aaron Fike, Shane Hmiel, Brent Sherman, Ryan Hemphill, Kim Crosby. This list is expected to grow as the auction date draws near.
Although the auction is not an autograph session, NASCAR driver and hometown hero Brendan Gaughan will sign autographs inside Sam’s Town Live! from 5-6 p.m. to help raise funds for the children of Las Vegas.
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and NASCAR team co-owner Jim Kelly also will make an appearance. Kelly co-owns Randy LaJoie’s No. 34 NASCAR Busch Series Polaroid Batteries Chevrolet with Frank Cicci.
New pre-race procedures add value for Nextel Cup, Busch Series auction winners
This year’s NASCAR Driver Auction offers added value to bidders in two ways. Last year, Cup drivers were driven around the track in a convertible sports car during driver introduction. The winning bidder sat in the front seat while his favorite driver sat in the back. This year, drivers competing in the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 will ride around the track in pairs in the back of new Dodge pick-up trucks – and their winning bidders will ride along in the back of the trucks with them.
Added value for bidders on Busch Series drivers competing in the Sam’s Town 300 on March 12 comes in the fact that -- for the first time in the history of the event – drivers will ride around the track in pairs in the same trucks and their winning bidders will ride along with them. In the past, winning bidders on Busch Series drivers were entitled only to a pre-race “meet ‘n’ greet,” since there were no parade laps for Busch Series races due to network television time constraints.
This year’s event also marks the return of world-famous auto auctioneer Brent Earlywine to the podium and gavel. The event also features a silent auction with a variety of racing and non-racing items to bid on, including autographed team uniforms, race car sheetmetal (from Ricky Rudd’s Motorcraft Ford, Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s Tide Chevrolet and Brendan Gaughan’s Orleans Racing Dodge), autographed MLB baseballs, NBA collectibles and tickets to various shows in and around Las Vegas. The Randy Anderson Band will perform from 5-6 p.m. and the USAF Thunderbirds will make an appearance at the beginning of the auction at 6 p.m.
All proceeds will go to the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, which supports the increased quality of life for the children of southern Nevada. Last year, 19 NASCAR drivers participated in the auction and more than $213,000 was raised for the children of Las Vegas and southern Nevada.
Last December, The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities granted $275,000 to 51 local children’s causes during its annual grant distribution ceremony.
Tickets for the event are available at $35 and may be purchased at www.tickets.com or at the Sam’s Town Live! box office. For more information please call (702) 450-8300 or (702) 632-8242.
Speedway Children's Charities (www.speedwaycharities.org) is a non-profit foundation based in Charlotte, N.C., that distributes funds to charities and foundations providing medical, emotional and social services to children in need. Founded in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Speedway Children's Charities has grown into a national foundation with chapters located at each of the six Speedway Motorsports Inc., facilities, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Each chapter's objective is to assist as many children as possible.