On May 25, three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart will be honored for his philanthropy work during the 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children’s Charities’ Gala presented by The NRA Teach Freedom Foundation.
Founded by Bruton Smith in 1982, Speedway Children’s Charities are operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The black-tie fundraising event, hosted by NBC Sports’ Krista Voda, will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Charlotte.
“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 the SCC in a press release. “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’s most high-profile example of charity work has been his annual “Smoke Show” at Texas Motor Speedway. The one-day “fantasy camp” allows contributors to drive stock cars around the 1.5-mile track and do a ride-along with Stewart. In seven years, the event has raised more than $1 million.
Stewart has also participated in “Ride of a Lifetime,” an online auction that lets winners ride with the driver in the back of a truck during the pre-race parade at all eight Speedway Motorsports tracks.
“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 in a release. “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 gala will include live music, food and silent and live auctions featuring special vacation packages and exclusive autographed sports memorabilia. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Stewart announced last year that the 2016 Sprint Cup season would be his last before retiring from the series. The co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing is out indefinitely due to a back injury sustained in an ATV accident at the end of January.