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Coca-Cola donates $52,000 to Ryan and Krissie Newman’s Rescue Ranch

A $52,000 check to Rescue Ranch animal education center from Coca-Cola was a great 40th birthday present for Ryan Newman.

Newman celebrated his birthday Dec. 8, the same day as the 13th Annual Ryan Newman Charity Dinner & Auction to Benefit Rescue Ranch. Coca-Cola contributed the $52,000 as part of the Coca-Cola Chug for Charity Program, in which the Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers compete by integrating Coca-Cola into their race-day activities and daily lives.

“I drink Coca-Cola whether I’m at the track or at home with my friends/family,” Newman said. “Chug for Charity is an awesome program. I’m always drinking Coke, so I appreciate every chug helps support Rescue Ranch.”

RELATED: Ryan Newman through the years

Since 2002, The Coca-Cola Company has donated to drivers’ charities through the Chug for Charity program.

“Ryan has been an outstanding brand ambassador and through the years, has been the recipient of more than $400,000 through the program,” said Ben Reiling, Director, Motorsports, Coca-Cola North America. “Since its inception in 2002, The Coca-Cola Company through the Chug for Charity program has donated more than $3 million to various charities on behalf of Coca-Cola Racing Family members. We’re thrilled to award Ryan his second ‘Chug for Charity’ crown.”

Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Newman, Danica Patrick, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. made up the Coca-Cola Racing Family of drivers for 2017. Logano has been the Coca-Cola Chug for Charity Champion four times (2012-14, 2016); Dillon and Clint Bowyer have each one once (2015, 2011 respectively); and Newman won previously in 2010.

As for celebrating Newman’s birthday, friends and family contributed to the fun atmosphere of the ’70s-themed event.

An animal painting by Jordie the parrot was part of the auction benefitting Rescue Ranch.

Ryan and Krissie Newman formed Rescue Ranch in 2012 with a grand opening in 2013, and it continues

to grow. In May, the Earnhardt Family Playground opened at the Statesville, North Carolina, facility. The playground is accessible to all children, including those with special needs.

Some of the Rescue Ranch residents got in on the event, with pieces of art created by Copper the English Cavy Guinea Pig; Salt & Pepper, the ranch’s Kenyan Sand Boas; Jordie, an African Grey Parrot; and Holstein Friesian Steer Otis. The artwork was part of an online and live auction also raising funds for Rescue Ranch.