“We’ve been doing this since 2009, and we are always excited about the Track Walk,” said Mike Patenaude, PPG regional sales manager. “It’s a lot of fun and Speedway Children’s Charities genuinely cares about kids and works so hard to give children in need better lives. We at PPG are honored to participate.”
The annual Track Walk takes place during a weekend of NASCAR racing that includes the XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 on Saturday afternoon and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday afternoon. This year NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney will lead the walk. Joining Blaney on the track will be longtime SCC supporter and ESPN commentator Dick Berggren along with SCC’s executive director Gen. Chuck Swannack.
This is Blaney’s first year on the walk, and the easy stroll around the track will be at a far slower pace than what he’s used to when he’s behind the wheel of his Team Penske #12 Ford Fusion in Monster Series competition. Through the first 16 events of 2018, Blaney has earned three top-fives, eight top-tens and two pole positions. He also picked up a win in one of the 125-mile Duel races at Daytona earlier in the year.
“I love the idea of walking the track,” said Blaney. “Walking, talking with fans, not worrying about who might pass me, knowing we’re doing some good by helping an organization that helps kids — it’ll be great. I’m really looking forward to this, and I hope we get a big crowd to walk with me.”
According to Hillarie Scott, director of the SCC New Hampshire chapter, Blaney’s wish will likely come true. “We had almost 250 people walking the one-mile track last year,” she said. “We expect Ryan to have lots of company this year. People love to come out, take a casual walk on a track that sees speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour and know that they’re helping us raise money for a very worthwhile cause.”
Scott also noted that the SCC’s Red Bucket Brigade will be making the rounds during Sunday’s race. The brigade, made up of approximately 60 volunteers, will tote their buckets decorated with the PPG logo through the stands during the race to collect donations from race fans. Last year, the walk brought in almost $16,000, and the Red Bucket Brigade collected an additional $21,000.
“We are extremely grateful for PPG’s support,” said Scott. “We could not do this without their involvement. They help make a huge difference in children’s lives, and we invite racing fans and anyone who wants to contribute to join us.”
Prospective walkers are encouraged to visit www.speedwaycharities.org/events/new-hampshire/track-walk/ to learn more or to register. Cost of participation is $20 online or $25 Friday and Saturday at the SCC tent located in the display lot at the track. Walkers receive a commemorative T-shirt. All proceeds benefit the SCC New Hampshire chapter.
SCC was founded in 1982 by Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., (SMI) and Sonic Automotive, as a tribute to his son, Bruton Cameron Smith, who died at a young age. The elder Smith was passionate about helping children in need and established SCC to support charities in communities around his SMI racetracks. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Speedway Children’s Charities today provides funding for hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the United States that meet the direct educational, medical, social and financial needs of children. SCC provides generous grants to these organizations through its eight regional chapters. Each chapter determines the needs of its surrounding communities and helps fund local organizations. Since it was established, SCC has supported thousands of organizations that help children lead productive lives.