News & Media

NASCAR teams join new effort for tornado relief

May 19, 2011, Team Release,

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. -- A brand-new non-profit organization, Community2Community Inc., has partnered with five NASCAR teams for the upcoming races at Charlotte Motor Speedway to reach out to the tornado victims in Alabama.

NASCAR and the local racing community answered the call for help with five teams from NASCAR's top three series, and at least 18 local drivers who will run a C2C decal. Two race tracks and one racing publication will be collecting donations and supporting C2C on their websites.

"This is just phenomenal," public relations representative Hunter Thomas said. "To have the support from five teams in NASCAR's top three series is unbelievable. It's really awesome to see the local racing community to reach out as well. Most local teams put everything they have into their race cars, and to donate valuable sponsorship locations to help others is just priceless."

Go Green Racing, JD Motorsports, Leavine Fenton Racing, Ricky Benton Racing, SS Green Light Racing, Dillon Motor Speedway, Rockingham Speedway and Speed Weekly Inc. all took up the cause of C2C to raise awareness and funds for the tornado victims in Alabama.

"I decided that we needed to do something for the residents," said Erica Elliott, a Clemson University student and one of the C2C founders. "We started brainstorming and organizing, and it just spread from there. We started a Facebook page, a website, and made phone calls to all of the businesses around the Grand Strand and Clemson, S.C. We posted flyers up and down the Carolina coast and talked to everyone that we knew to help us carry out our efforts."

In South Carolina, there are numerous places to make donations. You can visit any Divine Dining restaurants on the Grand Strand as well as various businesses in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island. In Albemarle, N.C., you may make a donation at Monarch on 350 Pee Dee Ave.

For more information on the organization or donations, please visit or visit the C2C Facebook page.

C2C Participants

-- Ricky Benton Racing's No 92 Chevrolet, driven by Clay Rogers, will sport the C2C logo on Friday. The team is currently sitting eighth in the Camping World Truck Series point standings along with a third place finish at Daytona earlier this year.

-- SS Green Light Racing will support C2C this weekend in the Truck Series race, as well. The decal will be placed in between the number and the rear tire of the No. 81 Toyota driven by David Starr. SS Green Light Racing is currently 11th in the Truck Series point standings.

-- Leavine Fenton Racing carries the C2C banner in the Sprint Cup Series as they will compete in the Sprint Showdown on Saturday, as well as the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29. Once again, Starr will be behind the wheel of the No. 95 Ford, and the decal is located on the rear corner panel. The C2C girls will be guest of Leavine Fenton Racing for the Coca-Cola 600 weekend.

-- JD Motorsports, a Gaffney, S.C.-based Nationwide Series team is helping out with the efforts by placing a C2C decal on the No. 01 Chevrolet driven by Mike Wallace. The team has momentum coming off a 10th-place finish at Dover, and the team is currently 15th in the Nationwide point standings.

-- Danny Efland, a native of Irmo, S.C., will be helping out the fellow South Carolinians as he will carry the C2C decal on Go Green Racing's No. 39 Ford in the Nationwide Series race on May 28. This will be Efland's third race with the team.

-- Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., the leading supporter in the local racing scene, will be taking up donations at the concession stands on Saturday, and at least 18 drivers will support C2C with the special decal during that night's race. The C2C logo and link is set to appear on this upcoming weekend.

-- Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., will add the C2C logo to its website,, and Speed Weekly Inc. in Asheville, N.C., will do the same on

The work begins

The C2C efforts started when Elliott's relatives couldn't be reached during the mayhem in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Finally, when contact was made, the Elliotts learned about the destruction that the EF4 tornado did to the city. Elliott joined fellow Clemson students Elissa Bailey and Jenny Delaere to establish C2C and look for ways to help as their hearts went out to all of the victims.

The girls' first trip was May 5, as they traveled to the Tuscaloosa area to deliver the supplies and helped with the cleanup efforts. The team loaded up three 22-foot trucks filled to the top with supplies.

The team arrived late Thursday night after a 10-hour drive. On Friday morning, with the help of volunteers, they unloaded two of the three trucks at a local church that was serving as a collection center. Before unloading the third truck, a call came that there was a need in Cullman, Ala., for food supplies. The third truck's doors immediately slammed shut and started its two-hour drive toward a church in Cullman.

After unloading the trucks, the girls spent the rest of the weekend touring damaged areas, delivering supplies they had loaded in the back of SUVs in addition to the trucks and volunteering at local shelters. While volunteering, the girls did anything asked, even cleaning bathrooms or mopping floors, but they took time to play with the kids and talk to some of the shelter residents.

"I knew that the Alabama trip would be emotional and tough, but I had no idea just how difficult it would be," Elliott said. "Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw or the stories we heard. This is an experience that none of us will ever forget."

The plan was to deliver everything to the Tuscaloosa area, and then let the supplies branch off and reach residents in other parts of Alabama. They also will be preparing to send items to the Mississippi area as their donations permit and as the need arises. The C2C team will visit Alabama once again on Friday as they look to make an even bigger impact and help even more victims.

"Our main goal is to get as many donations as possible," Elliott said. "We are going down to Alabama on Thursday to take all of the supplies and to help with all of the cleanup efforts."