Winner Winner: Daniel Wilk Donates Chicken Dinners to Area Youth Crisis Charities
While Charlotte Motor Speedway's community outreach takes many forms, from Speedway Children's Charities fundraising to employing dozens of community groups, one young Bojangles' Summer Shootout driver epitomizes what it means to give back to those less fortunate.
The 2015 Summer Shootout Series has been a dream-like season for 11-year-old Daniel Wilk. While the young Pineville, North Carolina driver has been victorious in all seven feature races in the LiveWell Homes Bandolero Bandits division, Wilk's success at the Summer Shootout has enabled him to be a leader both on and off the track.
Each week a $100 Bojangles' gift card is awarded to each of the seven feature race winners. Having won all seven feature races in his division, Wilk has accumulated $700 worth of Bojangles' spending money. After his second win, Wilk felt that sharing his winnings with others would be more rewarding than treating himself.
"I realized that so much more could be done with the gift cards that could benefit those who truly needed it," he said. "I knew that something needed to be done, whether that meant donating the food or giving the cards to people less fortunate."
The Relative Youth Crisis Center provides a safe location for youth ages 7-17 who have run away from home, are homeless, or are going through a rough family situation with nowhere else to go.
Dominique Dahardt, a crisis counselor at The Relative Youth Crisis Center, was present when Wilk brought the Bojangles' meals purchased with his Summer Shootout winnings to the crisis center.
"Daniel and his father brought food to the kids and Daniel volunteered to pass the food out and serve everyone," said Dahardt. "He introduced himself to the kids and answered all of their questions. I could tell he was very humble and he interacted with all of the residents very well."
Wilk credits his thoughtful act to the way he was raised. "I was taught to not just think about myself, and to think about those less fortunate who may be homeless or struggling to have a meal every day," he said. "It makes me feel good knowing that I was able to make someone's day and give them at least one meal, so they did not have to go a whole day without eating." He plans to continue to use his Bojangles' Summer Shootout winnings to serve those in need.
Wilk's thoughtful character is as consistent on the track as it is off the track. "I was always taught to think about others. I don't like dirty driving somebody, and I want them to race me clean, just like I race them."
When it comes to modeling his driving style and sense of humility, Wilk looks up to six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson. "Jimmie is a class-act veteran driver who knows how to be patient and make the right moves both on and off the track," Wilk said. "It's really cool knowing that I'm racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway just like Jimmie does."
Wilk will attempt to win his eighth consecutive LiveWell Homes Bandolero Bandits feature race during Round 8 of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout on Tuesday, July 21.
Tuesday night will be First Responder Night at the Bojangles' Summer Shootout. Fans are invited to join Charlotte Motor Speedway in honoring local police, firefighters and EMS as they beat and bang 13-ton school buses around the frontstretch quarter-mile in the final school bus race of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout season.
All first responders can gain complimentary grandstand admission to the Bojangles' Summer Shootout by showing their police, firefighter or EMS IDs. Tickets are free for kids 13 and under and are only $8 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at charlottemotorspeedway.com. Fans can also check local Bojangles' locations for a $2 off coupon.
In addition to weekly highlight shows on MAVTV, fans can watch live action through a pay-per-view via Performance Racing Network and Speed51.com for just $14.99 per night. For more details or to purchase a pay-per-view subscription for the Bojangles' Summer Shootout, visit www.goprn.com
For more information on the Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit the speedway website. Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or get all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.