NASCAR, IndyCar community assisting Hurricane Harvey relief efforts – USA TODAY
SportsPulse: Athletes, past and present, have come together in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to help generate millions of dollars for those affected and recovering from the devastating storm.
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While Houston Texans star J.J. Watt continues to generate enormous goodwill and generosity with his campaign to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, the motorsports world has also stepped up to the plate.
Watt, a defensive end for Houston’s NFL franchise, has raised almost $15 million through his foundation for Harvey relief efforts as of Friday morning. Meanwhile, drivers, teams and sponsors connected to NASCAR and IndyCar have announced their own initiatives.
Most prominent among them is A.J. Foyt Racing, which has teamed up with the Verizon IndyCar Series to raise funds with the sale of limited-edition “Race4Houston” T-shirts. All proceeds will benefit the Greater Houston Community Foundation, an organization established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to accept tax-deductible flood relief donations for victims. The shirts, priced at $28, can be ordered online and will be available in limited quantities at the official IndyCar merchandise tent beginning Saturday at Watkins Glen International, site of this weekend’s race.
A.J. Foyt, regarded as one of the greatest racecar drivers of all time, was born in Houston 82 years ago. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner owns and operates AJ Foyt Racing, whose primary shop is located in the Houston suburb of Waller, Texas. Foyt drivers Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly will also carry #Race4Houston decals on their cars for the final two IndyCar races of the season.
NASCAR star Joey Logano also feels a special connection to Houston. The Team Penske driver’s primary sponsor is Shell-Pennzoil, whose U.S. headquarters in Houston employs 11,000 people. Logano and his wife Brittany, donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief and Shell announced earlier it would be donating $1 million to the American Red Cross as well. The Joey Logano Foundation is also taking donations directly at its website, with all proceeds for the next month going directly toward Houston relief efforts.
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Elliott Sadler announced Friday at Darlington Raceway that he will donate a share of his winnings from this weekend’s race to Harvey relief. He joins IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, who pledged to donate “my portion of prize money” from Watkins Glen and the IndyCar season finale at Sonoma Raceway to the Red Cross.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson also addressed Harvey relief efforts during media availability at Darlington Friday. Johnson, whose primary sponsor for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is Lowe’s, said the company and its employees have stepped up to help victims.
“They (Lowe’s) have store employees on the ground volunteering and doing everything they can, as they do in all disaster situations,” Johnson said. “They announced a day or two ago that they had donated I think $500,000 to the efforts down there. It’s amazing work on their behalf. I’ll end up in Houston at some point, and then from the Hendrick side we’re figuring out how we can get involved.”
In other racing initiatives, each NASCAR race car and truck will carry a decal this weekend encouraging donations to help Hurricane Harvey victims and NASCAR has pledged to match donations through its foundation.
Brennan Poole, who will be competing in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race for Chip Ganassi Racing, is a native of The Woodlands, which is 30 miles north of the city of Houston.
“Houston is my home,” Poole said. “It’s tough to see all of my friends and family and my cousins and uncles and everybody battling with the disaster down there. We’re doing a food bank this week at the Ganassi race shop and anyone is welcome to come by and donate food or money to the cause. We’re working together as a group to help those in need.
“Like I said, it’s my home, I grew up there. It’s my city and I want to do everything I can to support and help these families in need.”
Xfinity driver Ben Kennedy and his No. 96 GMS Racing car will sport a “Support Harvey Relief” paint scheme at Darlington.
Contributing: Mike Hembree in Darlington, S.C.