NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Pit Note #9
Toyota Unveils Winning Design in “Sponsafy Your Ride” Contest – Toyota Racing drivers Michael Waltrip and Denny Hamlin were in the Time Warner Media Center Saturday to help unveil the winning race car design in the Toyota “Sponsafy Your Ride” Contest. The winning design was entered by Fay Knape of Danbury, Texas, and was selected out of more than 77,000 submissions.
Knape’s design, “Praying for Karson,” is a tribute to her one-year-old grandson, who has a rare interstitial lung disease known as neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia in infancy (NEHI). Among other symptoms, the disease causes breathing and growing problems in infants. Many children affected by the disease must use oxygen tanks to assist their breathing. There are less than 200 diagnosed cases of the disease worldwide. Toyota has donated $5,000 to Karson’s family to help offset the cost of his medical expenses.
Knape saw the contest as an opportunity to raise awareness for the disease and potentially raise money for research. She based her design on the future she envisions for Karson.
“My inspiration for the design was Karson,” Knape said.” Because of NEHI, he has to use an oxygen tank most of the time, and his future is uncertain. So the vision of the car was my hopes for his future – him being outside like a normal little boy, playing with the bugs, the caterpillars and the butterflies, and doing all the things that little boys should be able to do. Hopefully, with this design, we can help raise awareness for the disease, and maybe one day he can live a normal life.”
Michael Waltrip, who is running a limited schedule in 2010, will attempt to qualify the No. 55 “Praying for Karson” Toyota Camry for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Infineon Raceway in June.
“Getting to drive a car is definitely my favorite part of this sport,” said Waltrip. “I’m really thankful that Fay Knape designed a car that is making it possible for me to run at Infineon Raceway.
“Driving the ‘Praying for Karson’ car is something that I’m honored to do to help out the Knape family and raise awareness for NEHI.”