NASCAR Industry Descends on Charlotte for the 39th Annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala Presented by Sonic Automotive
Wednesday's 39th annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive at The Ritz-Carlton in Uptown Charlotte will provide a spectacular night of entertainment and first-class cuisine while raising money to benefit children in need throughout the greater Charlotte region.
Chef Robert Irvine, last year's grand marshal for the Coca-Cola 600, is known for hosting some of the Food Network's most popular shows including "Restaurant: Impossible" and for founding the military veteran-supporting Robert Irvine Foundation in 2015. Irvine has prepared a grandiose menu for Gala attendees this year. Those at the Gala will witness a special recognition for Mike Helton, one of NASCAR's most influential leaders and a longtime supporter of and advocate for Speedway Children's Charities. Additionally, country music star Justin Moore will regale the crowd with No. 1 hit songs including "Small Town USA" and "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away."
Chef Irvine's menu includes courses including miso-crusted Filet Mignon with sweet potato purée, baby carrots, local mushrooms, Tokyo turnips, and Riesling jus.
"The Speedway Children's Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive is one of my favorite events every year," said Marcus Smith, the vice chairman of Speedway Children's Charities. "Everyone at Speedway Children's Charities takes pride in our efforts to help children in the greater Charlotte community, and we look forward to hosting a phenomenal guest list at our sold-out gala. I can't wait to see what Chef Irvine and Justin Moore have in store for us."
The gala serves as a marquee fundraiser for Speedway Children's Charities' Charlotte chapter, a far-reaching nonprofit which assists children in need throughout the Charlotte area. The black-tie event features many prominent dignitaries from the motorsports industry as well as the nonprofit sector throughout Charlotte, the home base of Speedway Children's Charities since its founding by O. Bruton Smith in 1982.
"Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive are pleased to support the 39th annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala, marking a long-standing commitment from Sonic Automotive to organizations supporting children in our communities," said David B. Smith, CEO of Sonic Automotive & EchoPark Automotive. "We are deeply committed to giving back to the communities in which Sonic and EchoPark associates live and work. The trusted team and broad reach of Speedway Children's Charities allows us to help many children in need throughout Charlotte and the surrounding area with critical financial support."
Among the many luminaries expected to attend are NASCAR President Steve Phelps; NASCAR Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors Lesa France-Kennedy and NASCAR Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell; NASCAR driver William Byron and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett. FOX NASCAR personalities Larry McReynolds, Kaitlyn Vincie and Regan Smith and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera are also expected to attend.
Some of the live auction items available for bidding are:
- Chef Irvine Experience - a visit for two to the set of Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible as well as a dining experience at the grand re-opening of one of the restaurants featured on Chef Irvine's show
- Sutton Bay Experience - A special hunting experience for two with Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith in South Dakota from Nov. 5-7 featuring meals, tips, hunting and access to a club with a full bar, lounge area, locker room with showers, gun storage and gun cleaning areas and sauna.
- The windshield off of Jeff Gordon's car from his first career NASCAR Cup Series win in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Some of the silent auction items will include:
- Spiaggia Restaurant Experience - An unforgettable eight-course dinner and wine pairing for four people prepared by Chef-Partner Tony Mantuano and Top Chef Season 15 winner, Executive Chef Joe Flamm, at Spiaggia in downtown Chicago.
- FOX Big East Basketball Tournament Experience - A behind-the-scenes tour of Fox Sports, tickets for four to the semifinals and championship games at Madison Square Garden, Fox Sports college basketball merchandise and two nights of hotel accommodations in New York City
- Blackstone Shooting Sports Package - Two hours of shooting time on Charlotte's private nine-lane VIP range plus one additional hour of social time in the VIP lounge, nine rental firearms and a private safety briefing.