NASCAR Goes All Out for Autistic Kids

FedEx 400There's something about macho, macho men going out of their way to help little kids that makes me melt. Are you with me? Then ladies, start your engines! NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is devoting an entire race to helping kids with autism.

Aww! That's a cause we can all get behind.

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The FedEx 400, set for the June 3 race at the Dover International Speedway in Delaware, will benefit Autism Speaks, the largest non-profit in the US devoted to finding answers about this troubling disease. Drivers will even display the group's puzzle piece logo on their cars that weekend to help spread awareness of the cause.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? I've never been too keen on the constant marketing, marketing, marketing that goes along with this sport -- seriously, have you listened to one of those guys reel of his sponsors list when he's supposed to be talking about how awesomesauce his win was. It makes it sound like these guys are just in it for the money. But when they're using the sponsorships to make a difference for kids, your perspective changes entirely.

Heck, this little bit of news was enough to get me interested in finding out how the two are intertwined, and I'm a little embarrassed to say I didn't realize just how serious some of these guys are about helping kids with autism. The sport that counts 37 percent of women as fans, and plenty of them moms, has a fair amount of history linking it to the disorder that hits 1 in 110 kids in America every year.

Take driver Jamie McMurray. He's got a niece with autism, and since May 2006, he's had a foundation that raises money to promote awareness of and raise funding for research, education, and support for individuals and families afflicted with autism. They've donated more than $200,000 to Autism Speaks. Then there's Elliott Sadler, who also has a niece on the spectrum (daughter of his brother and former NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler). His foundation also raises money for a cure, and he's also involved with Autism Speaks. Looks like we know who to support during the race, huh?

How does an athlete's involvement with children's charities change your opinion of them?

 

Image via NASCAR

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