For the past handful of years, The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has auctioned off race-used, autographed steering wheels as a fundraising program to generate awareness and funding for childhood and ovarian cancers.
Like with many things in 2020, COVID-19 had other plans.
“We planned on doing that again and keeping that going but with COVID it was turning into a big problem to get the steering wheels because they’re made in Italy,” Truex Jr. told NASCAR.com.
The brains at the MTJF got together and devised an audible, working with The NASCAR Foundation to implement the Honor A Cancer Hero program, an online auction to put the names of cancer victims, survivors, medical personnel and caregivers on the signature panel of cars in this weekend’s races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. September is childhood and ovarian cancer awareness month, and those nominated will get the chance to “ride” with their favorite drivers.
In total, the joint effort netted more than $90,000 after seeing more than 50 drivers across all three national series donate their signature panel above their driver and passenger side windows – where their name typically lies.
“Kind of had to shift gears there and come up with another idea and the people at the Foundation came up with this. It’s a great idea and it’s worked well and just really thankful for everybody that participated and for NASCAR getting involved.
“From the teams, the sponsors, the drivers, everybody that allowed us to do this, it’s really special. Obviously, it’s been a tough year to raise money for the Foundation and this is a way to hopefully try to make up for some of that.”
The NASCAR garage is a tight one, and it’s not uncommon to see the collective join together for the greater good. The drivers, the crews, the teams … they’re all competitors. Causes like this, however, transcend sport.
“I think we’ve seen it time and time again, you know? It doesn’t matter, if somebody is up against something or somebody is going through a bad time or trying to raise money to help other people, I feel like as an industry we always get together and help each other any way we can,” Truex said. “We’ve seen it in the past and as a person who helps run the Foundation, I’m just really thankful for everybody that participates.
“Not surprised at all, but very thankful as always.”