NASCAR Family and Fans Join Together For Haiti Earthquake Relief

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IJanuary 23, 2010

On Friday evening, Jan. 22, Hollywood’s heaviest hitters and the music world’s biggest acts came out in droves to lend their support to the multi-network television event, Hope For Haiti Now .

The star-studded telethon hosted by George Clooney, Wyclef Jean and CNN's Anderson Cooper, featured one of a kind musical performances along with live reports chronicling the devastation in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake, where the death toll now stands at over 200,000.

Stars shine bright in time of need and in the NASCAR world we are reminded of just how luminous our own constellations are.

NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was one of the first to lend a hand by providing two 45-passenger Saab 2000 aircrafts, flight crews and support staff to help the nonprofit group Missionary Flights International to help bring displaced Haitian orphans and U.S. citizens to safety through the Florida port of Fort Pierce.

The planes that normally carry HMS crew members to and from the racetracks, will be used daily to take medical supplies and support teams to and from Port-au-Prince.

The HMS aviation team volunteered for this special mission with open minds and warm hearts. All expenses incurred will come straight from Rick Hendrick’s own pocket.

HMS sponsors are stepping up to the plate as well, Pepsi, Lowe’s and Bank of America have each donated $1 million dollars to the cause, with Go donating $500,000 dollars and GM $100,000 dollars for Haiti relief efforts.

The National Guard is aiding in the humanitarian relief efforts by deploying aircraft and troops to the desecrated country.

While Hendrick and his sponsors took the lead, others quickly followed suit.

Driver and team owner Michael Waltrip donated his personal jet to the cause by flying a team doctors and medical personnel, all of whom are volunteers with the Lumiere Medical Ministires to Florida, where they linked up with one of Hendrick's planes to carry them on to their Haitian destination.

On Saturday, Jan. 23, NASCAR will team up with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats to host the fourth annual NASCAR night at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC.

The two groups will help to raise awareness and much needed funds for the people of Haiti.

NASCAR showcars with special HAITI RELIEF logos will be on display at donation collection points throughout the city of Charlotte.

In addition, NASCAR celebrities, including Kyle Petty, Max Papis, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip and the No. 48 team of Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will be on hand to help raise awareness and funding for Haiti relief.

Stock car superstars will be accepting drive-through curbside donations on the Trade Street side of Time Warner Cable Arena from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday and will participate in a basketball skills challenge on the main court at 6:30 p.m.

During Saturday night's game between the Bobcats and the Orlando Magic, representatives from the American Red Cross will be available to accept donations from fans and encourage people to make donations by text messaging the word "Haiti" to 90999 or calling 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Fund raising will continue on Sunday night, Jan. 24 with SPEED TV's airing of the NASCAR Haiti Earthquake Relief program in an effort to bring attention to the ravaged community and its people who are in desperate need of help.

“The NASCAR Haiti Earthquake Relief Special will be hosted by Rick Allen and Brad Daugherty. Within the show, there will be features spotlighting the tragedy in Haiti. We’ll show viewers what NASCAR is doing to help, and we’ll show viewers how they can help too.”

"The NASCAR Haiti Relief Special is NASCAR’s chance to make a difference. We can save lives, and comfort those in need. This is our chance to be a voice for those who must be heard. This is our chance to say, “Please help us help others.”

NASCAR fans, Haiti needs your support! Please give what you can by visiting one of the following sites:

The NASCAR Foundation

The American Red Cross

The Salvation Army

Help Haiti Now

No donation is too small.

“A whole lot of littles make up a whole lot of lots” - Stevie Wonder

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)