NASCAR Drivers Join Breast Cancer Survivors to Paint Start/Finish Line and Pit Wall As Charlotte Motor Speedway Goes Pink for Dollar General 300
More than 100 breast cancer survivors and their supporters joined NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler to paint the Charlotte Motor Speedway start/finish line and pit wall pink to kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and preview the pink-themed Dollar General 300 on Oct. 11.
For the third consecutive year and as part of a continued effort to raise awareness of breast cancer education and research and to honor those who have fought the disease, Charlotte Motor Speedway will incorporate a pink theme into the Dollar General 300.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 232,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. But with early detection, experts say there is a 98 percent survival rate for those affected by the disease. To help raise awareness of the staggering statistics, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dollar General have teamed up to put several pink initiatives in place during Friday's race.
During the press event, Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith introduced Brenda Erb, a breast cancer survivor who traveled eight hours from Ohio to take part in the event.
"The start/finish line is so important to me, because during my treatment my husband bought me a birthday present while I was in surgery to come to Martinsville," Erb sad. "I got to go to the start/finish line... and I was announced for the first time as a breast cancer survivor. That meant so much to me."
Among other things, fans who attend next weekend's races will notice the pink start/finish line and pit wall, which got a fresh coat of pink paint Tuesday. In total, crews will use 80 gallons of paint provided by PPG Porter and Glidden Paints to cover more than 6,000 square feet for pit wall and the start/finish line.
"I hope to cover up some of this pink with black rubber and bring home that trophy at the end of the Dollar General 300," Vickers joked as he helped paint the start/finish line. "Breast cancer awareness is something that (Dollar General) has always been fond of. The statistics are mind-boggling. With early detection, there's a 98 percent survival rate, but only one in four women are being tested. We've got to raise awareness. We've got to turn that one in four women being tested into four of four women."
Kenseth, who will run in both the Dollar General 300 and Saturday's Bank of America 500, said he's enjoyed getting back into the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and looks forward to racing in Charlotte, but also raising awareness of an important cause.
"I think everybody knows somebody, has a friend or a family member that's been affected by cancer in some form, so it's neat to be out here, to see what Charlotte Motor Speedway is doing and what Dollar General is doing to help raise awareness and fund research," Kenseth said.
Motorsports analyst Hermie Sadler, who attended Tuesday's event with his brother, Elliott, and their mother, Bell, perhaps summed up the day best.
"It's a great day for us personally, obviously to be here with our mom who is a six-year breast cancer survivor and seeing all these families who have been at this event for the last couple of years and keep sharing the good news," Hermie said. "That's the great thing about this event today; we've got a lot of great news to share. Early detection leads to about a 98 percent cure rate, and that's the message we're trying to get out."
In addition to the pink paint on the start/finish line and pit wall, Charlotte Motor Speedway will include a number of other pink initiatives during Friday night's race.
As it did last year, the Dollar General 300 prerace activities will once again include a breast cancer survivor's parade with 300 breast cancer survivors. Participants who have signed up will meet in front of Smith Tower where they will receive a special pink T-shirt, pink and white flag and race ticket and walk onto the track to be recognized for their courage in facing the disease.
Pink Pace Car to Lead Field to Green
Before drivers jockey for position in the pivotal points race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, a pink and white 2013 Toyota Camry Pace car will lead the field.
Winner to Hoist Pink Trophy
Even the celebration in Victory Circle will carry the pink scheme, with the winner hoisting a pink trophy in celebration - a colorful creation that's sure to stand out in any driver's trophy case.
Fans Encouraged to Join "Pink Out"
In addition, fans who wish to express their support are encouraged to wear pink during Friday night's Dollar General 300 or display a pink ribbon.
Drivers, Teams Show Support
Over and above the efforts Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dollar General will make to carry the pink theme through the event, many drivers and teams have already announced plans to show their support with pink paint schemes and through other initiatives.
Sadler wears pink racing shoes and racing gloves in every race in honor of his mother, Bell, who is a six-year breast cancer survivor.
The Kyle Busch Foundation will raise awareness of its "Project Pink: Protect Your Pair" initiative throughout Charlotte's race week, including hosting 12 cancer patients or "Champions" for a VIP at-track experience during the Dollar General 300.
Tickets for the Dollar General 300 start at just $25. Kids 13 and under get in free with an adult ticket purchase. Fans can catch all the action from Bojangles' Pole Night/UNOH Southern Slam 150 and Better Half Dash on Oct. 10, to the Dollar General 300 on Oct. 11 and the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 12 with a weekend pass starting at just $99. Frontstretch tickets to the Bank of America 500 with spectacular views of the world's largest HDTV start at two for just $99 and can be obtained through the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
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