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September 20, 2018

Annual Paint The Wall Pink event holds special meaning for drivers

CONCORD, N.C. – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Jimmie Johnson and Chris Buescher and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala teamed up with dozens of breast cancer survivors Thursday morning for Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Paint The Wall Pink event.

The drivers were joined by former Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and FOX NASCAR reporter Hermie Sadler to help paint the pit wall pink alongside the survivors in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

RELATED: Scenes from Paint The Wall Pink at Charlotte

“The survivors are so inspiring,” Johnson told “To hear the stories and know how profound they are and how much they impact the whole audience, you wish the whole world could hear these stories.”

Johnson, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina “Live Fearless” brand ambassador, spoke to those in attendance and listened to personal accounts from survivors about their courageous fights. The seven-time champion will also wear pink gloves while driving the the No. 48 Chevrolet throughout the month of October to raise awareness.

Jimmie Johnson writes a note to those affected by breast cancer during the Paint The Wall Pink event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson composes a note of support for those affected by breast cancer. Photo: Chase Wilhelm | NASCAR Digital Media

“To be a part of this message, especially as a man surrounded by all these lady survivors and all this pink, I hope that I could help shed some light on it and help bring more awareness to it,” Johnson said.

The event hits home for Buescher, as his wife Emma’s aunt, Barbara Lanier Kiser, is a seven-year breast cancer survivor.

“Just a really neat event,” Buescher said, sporting pink paint on his left cheek thanks to his wife. “Cool to hear the stories and see everyone come out here to raise awareness on our home turf. I actually brought some family out this time. …To come out here and be a part of this, I think it means a lot to them, as well.”

Kiser went through four surgeries, six months of chemotherapy and two months of radiation before she could officially say she was cancer-free. She had a 40 percent chance to live five years, but she has be able to beat all odds to attend the event for a second time.

“I feel so blessed,” Kiser said. “It still brings tears to my eyes because I know what all these ladies have went through. Every story is different. I’m just so thankful to the God above that I’m here. …I can’t wait to see next Sunday that pink wall.”

The annual event works in conjunction with the upcoming Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 200 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina on Sept. 29 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first time the series will hit Charlotte’s new 2.28-mile road course.

That leads up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sept. 30 (2 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the Round of 16 finale which serves as the first of three playoff elimination races.