Charlotte Motor Speedway and the American Red Cross are teaming up to give people in Charlotte a way to honor first responders and give the Gift of Life on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The “Laps For Life” Blood Drive takes place Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the infield Media Center from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Opening ceremonies for the event will be at 9 a.m. with a moment of silence at 9:02 a.m. to honor those who lost their lives ten years ago in the terrorist attacks on the United States. The blood drive will begin at 9:30 a.m. and all first responders will be honored throughout the day.

Donors and their families can enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the day. Presenting donors who are pre-registered online by Sept. 9 will receive a pair of Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage tickets.

All presenting donors will be able to drive their car on the track for three laps, receive a pair of Bojangles’ Pole Night tickets and get a “Laps For Life” commemorative t-shirt!  A drawing will be held for a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gift basket. Lug Nut and the American Red Cross Bloodhound will make appearances, and there will be fun activities for children including the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Fan Van” and bounce houses.

“Hurricane Irene has taken a huge toll on our blood collections, causing cancellations of dozens of Red Cross blood drives nationwide and a shortfall in thousands of units of blood,” said Joyce Brendel, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “The ‘Laps For Life’ drive is a wonderful opportunity to help us make up for those lost units and honor the heroes who sacrificed their lives on 9/11 as well as those who put their lives on the line for us everyday.”

“This is a great opportunity to honor the memory of those we lost ten years ago by giving lifesaving blood to others in our community,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “And as a way for us to say ‘thank you’ for participating, we’ll give each donor a thrill with the chance to drive his or her personal vehicle around the speedway.”

The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be safely given every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

To schedule your lifesaving appointment, please visit redcrossblood.org. Click on “Enter a Sponsor Code” and enter 16579, or call Amy Meyers @ 704.676.1277.