January 2006 Random News

Hospital Gift Honors Ricky
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 25)- - Rick and Linda Hendrick donated $3 million to benefit Levine Children's Hospital. In recognition of the gift, the hospital will name its pediatric intensive-care facilities in honor of their son, the late Ricky Hendrick. The Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care will encompass the sixth floor of the new hospital on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center. It will house the facility's pediatric intensive-care unit and the region's first pediatric cardiovascular intensive-care unit. "Our family is proud to make this pledge in Ricky's name," said Linda Hendrick. "He was a young man who would run, not walk, to wherever he was going. This hospital will make certain that others have the same opportunity." The Centers will treat the most critically ill and injured children from across the region. Upon completion in summer 2007, the 234-bed facility will be the third-largest of its kind in the southeastern United States. "Our son placed a great importance on doing one’s part to help others," said Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. "He had a passion for making a difference in people's lives, which is exactly what Levine Children's Hospital will do for families of this region." A tragic aircraft accident in October 2004 cut short Ricky Hendrick's life at age 24. "My brother had a passion for traveling new paths and trying new things," said Lynn Carlson, Ricky's sister. "Love was always a touchstone in his life and he came back to it continuously. Ricky loved children and I know he would be honored to be part of this wonderful hospital."

Media Horde Visits HMS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 25)- - The annual media tour of the Nextel Cup race shops visited Hendrick Motorsports on January 25. More than 200 print and electronic media members from 20 states and as far away as The Netherlands were registered to participate in the tour, which gave media representatives the opportunity to tour race shops, meet with noted participants, and discuss the latest developments and news with motorsports industry leaders. The media members were herded to the various race shops in buses, given buffet-line fare, and listened to drivers and team owners in freshly-pressed clothing discuss their cohesiveness and championship hopes. "I want all four of our Cup drivers in the Chase and for one of them to win the championship," said Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. "I also want to win the Busch Series championship as well so expectations are pretty high for all of us even though this year is probably going to be the toughest season as far as our competition is concerned." HMS had Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, and Terry Labonte available for photos and interviews.

Morning In The Big Town
NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 21)- - Jeff Gordon made his eighth appearance as co-host on the popular daytime talk show "Live with Regis and Kelly." Gordon filled in for host Regis Philbin on Friday morning's telecast with Kelly Ripa. "People go ballistic when you're here," Ripa told Gordon at the opening of the show. Gordon discussed his recent trip to Africa (with pictures) and pre-season testing at Daytona, which is often a tedious way for drivers to spend a January afternoon in Florida. "If they could find a dummy to put behind the wheel, I would absolutely put him in there," Gordon joked. The duo interviewed Robin Givens and participated in the standard morning show effects.

Fundraising In Maine
PORTLAND, ME. (January 15)- - When you think of locations for a high-dollar fundraiser, places such as New York City, Beverly Hills, and Palm Beach might come to mind. Surely you wouldn't put the remote city of Portland, Maine in that list. But the city held one of the largest single fundraising event in the history of the Jeff Gordon Foundation on Saturday, January 14. The day included an afternoon concert by Carrie Underwood at the Cumberland County Civic Center, followed by a sports memorabilia auction and dinner with Gordon attending. Gordon introduced Underwood on stage at the Civic Center before heading across the street to the Holiday Inn by the Bay. The $250-a-plate dinner for 550 people was a sellout. "We realized not only are their race fans in this area but there are people who really want to help out, whether it be their local community or just with the national, they believe in what we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Foundation," Gordon said. "There's people out here who want to give back and that's very cool." Gordon hoped to raise $500,000 from the day's festivities, which would make it the highest single fundraising day for his foundation. Proceeds will be split between Maine-based and national chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and The Marrow Foundation. "We're not here to make money," Gordon said. "We're here to make a difference." (Portland Press-Herald)

One Wish At A Time
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (January 9)- - In the past four years, Jeff Gordon has met with more than 130 children with serious or life-threatening illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. During the 2005 season, Gordon committed to meeting wish children during every race weekend. Each wish weekend begins with a special send-off from the wish child's local chapter and a trip to the race venue to begin their behind-the-scenes look at a NASCAR race. The highlight is a personal visit with Gordon, which typically starts by meeting at one of the most coveted locations on the circuit ­– Gordon's personal motor coach. He greets the wish child and family, while bringing a wealth of gifts and souvenirs to commemorate the wish. The gifts include a team hat, an official "I met Jeff Gordon" t-shirt designed specially for the wish child and a commemorative gold coin. Only 150 of these coins have been made, and the only way to talk one-on-one with the four-time Cup champion, and then take a special VIP garage tour arranged through NASCAR and watch the race creates an unforgettable weekend for wish children and their families. Gordon also supports the foundation through generous annual giving, as well as donating plenty of signed memorabilia for auctions. "It's great that the Make-A-Wish Foundation offers the opportunity for children with life-threatening medical conditions to have their wishes and dreams come true," Gordon said. "It's an honor to think their one wish is to attend a race and meet drivers, and to meet me. This gives them the chance to enjoy a NASCAR weekend and hopefully forget about their illness for a while. Seeing the smile on their face puts a smile on mine." For more information, visit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Keynote Address
LAS VEGAS, NV. (January 6)- - Jeff Gordon will be the keynote speaker at a Las Vegas dinner honoring a gaming executive. The January 31 event at Mandalay Bay honors Mel Larson, the former vice president of marketing for Circus Circus. It was Larson's connections that helped Las Vegas land the Mint 400 off-road race and get it on ABC's "Wide World of Sports." Larson was also instrumental in getting the Las Vegas Motor Speedway built. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30. The meet-and-greet, limited in number, with Larson and Gordon is set for 7:00 with dinner and the program to follow.

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