More than 67,000 children in the Charlotte region will benefit from a distribution of $504,000 by Speedway Children's Charities.

O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Children's Charities and chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., awarded grants to nearly 70 local organizations today.

The money, raised through various activities along with individual and corporate donations throughout the year, aids the organizations in meeting the emotional, medical or educational needs of area children.

Many local agencies are direct benefactors of Speedway Children's Charities, including the Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County (to aid in transporting children to various programs); Junior Charity League (used to provide new clothes, school supplies, eye exams and eyeglasses for students identified by school counselors as in need) and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (provides college scholarship grants for children who lose a parent while serving in the Special Ops during combat, operational or training missions).

"It's our way of putting something back into the community," said Smith. "Children are a wonderful gift and there are so many special needs that can enrich young lives right here in our backyard. It seems we never have enough money to help everyone in need, but we keep trying. Every way you turn, there is a need to help children, especially in lower income levels. Next year, our goal is to distribute $1 million."

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Tom Sadler, executive director of Speedway Children's Charities, assisted Smith in distributing the checks and acknowledged those who helped with the year-long effort.

"I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who work hard throughout the year to raise these funds," Sadler said. "We have great corporate partners and tremendous support from NASCAR fans and all those in the sport."

In addition, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Greg Biffle accepted a $15,000 check from Smith and Sadler to purchase Christmas presents and supplies for children of deployed members of the North Carolina National Guard.

Smith founded the Speedway Children¿s Charities in 1984. The organization has since expanded to each of the six Speedway Motorsports race tracks across the country and has dispersed more than $10 million. Money raised by local chapters stays in each respective community. This year, approximately $2.3 million was distributed to 411 organizations in those various communities plus a few national charities.

Speedway Children¿s Charities 2004 Grant Recipients:

A Child¿s Place; Alexander Youth Network; Alliance for Children & Youth; Armed Services YMCA; Assistance League of Charlotte; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte; Boy Scouts of America, Mecklenburg County; Boys & Girls Clubs of Cabarrus County; Boys & Girls Clubs of York County; Cabarrus County Partnership for Children; Calvary Home for Children; Camp CARE; Cannon School; Charity League of Charlotte; Charlotte Boxing Academy; Charlotte Emergency Housing; Charlotte Speech and Hearing; Children's Attention Home; Children's Museum of Iredell; Children's Protection Council; Children's Scholarship Fund-Charlotte; Church of God Children's Home; Communities in Schools of Cabarrus County; Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg; Communities in Schools of Lancaster County; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Dore Academy; Epworth Children's Home; Florence Crittenton Services; Girl Scouts of the Pioneer Council; Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council; Girls on the Run Charlotte; Group Homes for the Autistic; Holy Angels; Hospice & Community Care; Hospice at Charlotte; Hospice of Cabarrus County; Joni and Friends; Junior Achievement of the Carolinas; Junior Charity League of Concord; KinderMourn; Latin American Coalition; LifeSpan, Inc.; Mephibosheth Farms Angelic Riders; Misty Meadows Mitey Riders; Motor Racing Outreach; North Mecklenburg Child Development Association; NorthEast Medical Center; Piedmont Council-Boy Scouts of America; Prevent Blindness N.C.; Room at the Inn; Seigle Avenue Partners; Sexual Assault Resource Center; Special Olympics Cabarrus County; Special Olympics North Carolina; Special Operations Warrior Foundation; The Arc/Rowan; The Eblen Children's Charities; The Family Center; The Girl's Home; The Rock-N-Java; The Salvation Army-Concord; Thompson's Children's Home; United Family Services; YMCA of Greater Charlotte Camp Thunderbird; York Place; Youth Homes, Inc.