News & Media

Speediatrics the big winner of poker fundraiser

February 23, 2012, Official Release,

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Popular drivers, well-known celebrities and national media went "all in" during the year's first fundraiser for the NASCAR Foundation, raising money for deserving children of Daytona Beach with a fun and rewarding charity poker tournament at MG on the Halifax.

Avid poker player and event winner, NASCAR Foundation chairwoman Betty Jane France, deemed the event an all-around success, "Whether you were a winner or loser at the table really didn't matter, because this event was the ultimate 'win-win' situation," France said. "We all had a great time and we raised a lot of money for a great cause. The support from the Daytona Beach area and from the many NASCAR drivers who played was awesome. We are so very appreciative."

High Speed Hold 'Em on the Halifax saw guests come together for a night of Pro/Am high stakes hold 'em action at the grand-opening event for the MG Clubhouse. Commissioner of the Epic Poker League and honorary tournament director Annie Duke oversaw 14 tables as players vied for a grand-prize entry into an Epic Poker Pro/Am event valued at $1,500. Another big draw for the evening was an art auction featuring local Daytona Beach artists.

France will be joined by event co-host and NASCAR Foundation board member Rusty Wallace for the ceremonial check presentation during Daytona 500 pre-race festivities. A $300,000 donation will be made to the Speediatrics unit at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. The donation will represent funds raised during the event as well as the NASCAR Foundation's NASCAR Unites and NASCAR Day programs.

"It's wonderful to see that we can host this caliber of an event at the beautiful new clubhouse at MG," Wallace said. "This has surpassed my expectations, and I couldn't be happier to see them join hands with NASCAR to do something wonderful for our community."

"This was an honor to host and a one-of-a-kind event that brought together the champions of poker and the who's who of the sport that has helped to make this area such a wonderful place to live, work and play," said Brett Dill, managing partner of MG on the Halifax.

"More important was what brought us together -- helping the children and families who count on Speediatrics," Dill said.

Founded by France in 1999, Speediatrics at Halifax Health Medical Center is a NASCAR-themed pediatrics unit and is the only one of its kind in Central Florida that cares for more than 2,000 children each year, including about 300 of those receiving care in the Pediatric ICU.

Fans who followed the event will be able to secure a piece of the action. By donating $25 at they will receive a commemorative set of poker chips fresh from the evening's festivities.

Next up for the NASCAR Foundation is their wildly successful initiative, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. In 2011, four philanthropic dynamos won a total of $175,000 for their favorite organizations to continue their charitable efforts. This year, the NASCAR Foundation is looking to expand the program and will join forces with Toyota, which will award a 2013 Camry Hybrid to the 2012 winner. Nominations for individuals who have gone above and beyond to support children's organizations close on May 31. Please log on to NASCAR.COM/foundation for information on how to nominate a local NASCAR fan making a difference for children.