In 2017, The NASCAR Foundation embarked on a journey to inspire children in our racing communities to lead a healthy lifestyle – and to have fun while doing so – through our Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals.
Since then, we have hosted 9 events in 5 race markets with plans to host 5 more events in 2019, including the introduction of 2 new markets to our portfolio.
These efforts would not be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers, who contribute towards the event in many ways – from pre-event planning, to activity leaders to champions for the event within the community.
Bringing NASCAR To Life
During the NASCAR offseason, The NASCAR Foundation enlisted the help of several staff at the NASCAR Research & Development Center to take our NASCAR-themed activities used at our Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals to the next level.
Our friends Matt Harper, John Patalak and Curt Cloutier accepted the challenge – and the results have far exceeded our expectations. Thanks to them, children at our Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals get real-life experience with the speed and strength needed to re-fuel and change the tires on our race cars.
Our new ‘Gas Can Relay’ and ‘Pit Crew Challenge’ activities will be featured at each of our 2019 events – and beyond.
Through our efforts in the Tolleson, Arizona community, we love getting to work with the staff, teachers and students at P.H. Gonzales Elementary School. The passion they have for inspiring the youth of that community is evident.
What’s unique about this particular partnership is the involvement of student leaders like Ivan Elizarraraz, president of the National Junior Honor Society at P.H. Gonzales. Ivan had a vital role in helping us plan the event, to include recruiting other student members of the National Junior Honor Society and JAG to volunteer as our activity leaders.
"What I for one was looking for to get out of this experience as a NASCAR Foundation volunteer, was to be able to help the children have a fun day," Ivan said. "That they would look back on each time they would see a new group of children participating and remember the event as a fun event. Also, hoping that the foot prints that I leave by helping set up the entire event every step of the way; would be seen as a form of leadership."
Ivan also enjoyed watching the fourth-grade students participate in our new gas can relay to see not only how competitive they were, but also how happy they were no matter which team won.
Collaborating With Community Partners
Our Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals would not be successful without the support of our champions at our host track locations. Whether physically hosting our events on track property, or collaborating to boost awareness of our joint efforts, we are proud to partner with the tracks to provide a lasting impact on children in the local community – long after the race weekend concludes.
One such champion is Greg Fresquez from ISM Raceway, the market of our very first Speediatrics Fun Day Festival in 2017.
"The Speediatrics Fun Day Festival in Tolleson is hands down one of my favorite events all year. We get to share what we do in racing with our community," Fresquez said.
"It means so much to me that we can bring drivers like Ruben Garcia Jr., Cassie Gannis and Jesse Iwuji along with other up and coming drivers and showcase that our next generation of drivers look like the community that surrounds us."
As The NASCAR Foundation celebrates National Volunteer Appreciate Week on April 8-12, we are taking some time to recognize some of our dedicated volunteers! We would not be able to bring smiles to children who come to our Fun Day Festivals without all the behind the scenes help from our volunteers. Click here to see if a Speediatrics Fun Day Festival is coming to your market in 2019.