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Gordon, AARP give back to Darlington community

March 13, 2014, Staff report,

Seven-time winner at Track to Tough Too Tame, sponsor meet fans, donate to food bank

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In advance of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon visited the "Track Too Tough to Tame" and a local food bank on Thursday

Gordon greeted and thanked fans who purchased the track's AARP Drive to End Hunger ticket package. Some of the nearly 100 fans in attendance waited over 12 hours to purchase the AARP package, which will include a race-day question-and-answer session with Gordon. The seven-time Darlington winner also took one fan, Clea Smith of Rockingham, N.C., for a pace-car ride around the 1.333-mile egg-shaped oval.

"It was great to see all the fans show up today and support Darlington Raceway. It was a really fun event," Gordon said. "Darlington [Raceway] is one of my favorite tracks. I always enjoy this place and have had a lot of success here in my career. I'm excited to come back here in a few weeks and hopefully get another Bojangles' Southern 500 victory."

Gordon also visited The Lord Cares, a local food bank in Darlington. The AARP Foundation, sponsor of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS, made a $5,000 donation to the organization. Track partner Bojangles' also donated a truckload of non-perishable food items.

"We can't thank Jeff Gordon, the AARP Foundation, Darlington Raceway and Bojangles' enough for what they did for our food bank," said Kevin Cauley, president of the board for The Lord Cares. "I can't express how much his visit meant to us and the volunteers that put in so much time to make this food bank a success."

The AARP Foundation will benefit from every AARP Drive to End Hunger ticket package sold with a $10 donation for every $89 package sold. In addition to the Q&A with Gordon in the driver's meeting tent on April 12, fans will get a Pearson grandstand ticket and a scanner rental.

Packages can still be purchased by calling 866-459-7223 or by visiting
"This was a great event that accomplished many of our goals as a racetrack," Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. "We always enjoy putting events like this together which gets our great fans excited about Darlington Raceway and gives us an opportunity to reinvest in our local community. I would also to thank our great partner Bojangles' for continuing to support all of the events at our great raceway."

Photo credit: Harrelson Photography / The AARP Foundation's donation to The Lord Cares food bank in Darlington, S.C. From left to right: The Lord Cares president of the board Kevin Cauley, Jeff Gordon, Chip Wile and the Lady in Black Kaitlyn Bailey.


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