Stewart honored for charity work

Columbus native Tony Stewart will be honored at the 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children’s Charities Gala on May 25 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stewart, who will compete in his final season as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver once he returns from an offseason back injury, will be honored for his successes both on and off the track, including his contributions to Speedway Children’s Charities across all eight Speedway Motorsports chapters.

“For more than 15 years Stewart has wowed NASCAR fans across the country, but he rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts,” Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities, said in a statement. “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.”

Stewart has raised more than $1 million for Speedway Children’s Charities since 2009 with his annual Smoke Show event. This day-long fantasy camp gives people a chance to drive a stockcar around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with personal instruction from Stewart, and enjoy a three-lap ride-along around the oval’s high banks.

Stewart also is an annual participant in SCC’s Ride of a Lifetime promotion, an online auction which allows fans to bid on a chance to ride in the back of a pickup truck with their favorite driver during the pre-race parade at speedways around the country.

“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. “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.”

Speedway Children’s Charities is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Bruton Smith in 1982. Since then, it has raised more than $46 million for other worthy nonprofit organizations across the United States.

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