NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin made a pit stop on Capitol Hill Thursday and received the March of Dimes "Champion for Babies" award at the March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference gala in Washington, D.C.
The 22-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner was recognized before hundreds of top volunteers from around the country for his work in raising awareness about the foundation's signature fundraiser, March for Babies. Hamlin is the fourth recipient of this award, joining golf legend Arnold Palmer, Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath and sports broadcaster Greg Gumbel.
A new father himself, being involved with March of Dimes has affected Hamlin's perspective on the organization's mission.
"It's an honor to accept this award tonight, and to play a small role in raising the visibility of the great work done by the March of Dimes," Hamlin said. "Their mission hits closer to home as I became a first-time father earlier this year, and I'm grateful that with the help of FedEx, our team has been able to meet and host many families that have been positively impacted by this great organization."
Hamlin's involvement with the organization started when he began driving the FedEx sponsored No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and for the past six seasons, the race car has featured a special March of Dimes paint scheme with assistance from FedEx.
Together, Hamlin and FedEx have hosted the March of Dimes National Ambassador families every spring at different NASCAR events to share their stories and encourage fans to sign up and support annual fundraising walks. On Thursday, Hamlin was joined by the 2013 ambassador, Nina Centofanti, and her family as they, along with supermodel Niki Taylor, met with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) among others.