Charitable programs combined to raise record amounts for local youth groups during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Sonoma Raceway, June 23-25.
More than $271,000 was raised during the race weekend, the majority of which will benefit Sonoma County youth organizations through the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC). The record amount for the NASCAR weekend marks over $55,000 more than 2016. SCC has distributed more than $5.6 million to youth-serving non-profit groups since 2001.
The Children’s Champions Grand Marshal Banquet, held on Friday, June 23, at Cline Cellars in Sonoma, featured comedian and actress Cristela Alonzo, the voice of the “Cars 3” elite trainer Cruz Ramirez. Alonzo served as the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
The sold-out sit-down dinner also featured an exclusive and sentimental history of the “Cars” franchise by Sonoma resident John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Voice-over characters from “Cars 3,” including NASCAR’s Ray Evernham, “The King” Richard Petty, and NASCAR on FOX broadcaster Mike Joy, took part in a Q&A session during the banquet.
A live auction at the banquet featured exclusive items, including a NASCAR Race-Day Experience, which included a meet and greet with the NASCAR on FOX Broadcast team and a behind- the-scenes tour of the iconic Hollywood Hotel. In addition, a special Pixar Studios package included a “Cars”-themed gift basket and a private tour of the Emeryville headquarters, as well as a Ride of a Lifetime with Dale Earnhardt Jr. were auctioned. Overall, the banquet and live auction generated a record-setting $252,000.
In addition, more than $19,000 was raised through various donations during the weekend, including a $5,000 donation on behalf of the Transporter Drivers of Motorsports Association (TDMA), which participated in the 7th annual NASCAR Hauler Parade in Sacramento on June 22. Great Clips raised over $4,000 in donations throughout the weekend at its mobile hair salon in the main paddock and the online charity auction raised nearly $8,000.
For more information about the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities or to make a donation, visit SonomaRaceway.com/SCC or contact Cheri Plattner at (707) 933-3950 or cplattner@SonomaRaceway.com. If your non-profit group is interested in working with Levy Restaurants at an upcoming event, contact Kim Conte at kconte@Levyrestaurants.com or 707-939-1454.