Comcast has announced the 2021 Comcast Community Champion of the Year. World Wide Technology Raceway owner Curtis Francois has locked up the prestigious award, as well as a $60,000 donation to the Raceway Gives Foundation due to his extensive work in the St. Louis area communities.
Comcast issued a press release on Tuesday, November 30, and confirmed that Francois beat out other finalists in FOX Sports reporter Jamie Little and Charlotte Motor Speedway GM Greg Walter, who both received $30,000 donations for charities affiliated with them.
A panel comprised of Comcast NBCUniversal and NASCAR executives, as well as the 2020 Comcast Community Champion Bubba Wallace, made the decision to select Francois as the seventh recipient of the award. He now joins a list that includes a Cup Series driver, pit crew members, a track president, and the owner of Joey Gase Racing.
“I’m just so grateful to Comcast to be named this year’s Comcast Champion of the Year,” Francois told Heavy on November 29. “For me, it’s just amazing to be able to join a group that includes, you know, folks like Bubba Wallace, Joey Logano, [Dover president] Mike Tatoian, who’ve all made big impacts within their community. Part of what we do right along with racing is to try to be an asset for our community, and it’s just really great for my team to be recognized for their efforts.”
Francois Uses Raceway Gives to Help Underserved Youth & Military Families
A lifelong St. Louis resident, the former racer in Francois used the Raceway Gives Foundation to support community members. The foundation specifically focuses on programs that enhance education and career opportunities for youth, with a focus on STEM education and diversity.
Raceway Gives supports gifted, diverse, and underserved youth, as well as military families, using three pillars: motorsports career opportunities, community engagement with high schools and youth clubs, and educational experiences.
“I think it’s really important to utilize the race track in a way to bring STEM education to kids that need it most, those that are in our communities that are a little bit disadvantaged or could use a leg up,” Francois said. “And we certainly just want to be a part of helping where we can.
“Our STEM program utilizes the racetrack as an asset to attract kids to learning. Without a doubt, when you can combine fun, excitement, and learning, [it] is a win for all those involved.”
A Renovated WWTR Will Aid Francois’ Efforts
Francois will have even more opportunities to help out the community on June 5 when World Wide Technology Raceway hosts its first Cup Series race. Francois has big plans to further support the community while showcasing some significant renovations.
According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Francois and his staff are making an estimated $40 million worth of renovations with a completion date of 2025. However, some features should be ready for the Cup Series weekend. The list of proposed renovations includes adding premium camping sites for fans, upgrading the driver and team owner areas, improving the racetrack safety, updating suite interiors in the hospitality tower, and adding a new rooftop component.
“No doubt we’re gonna use our Cup weekend as an opportunity to expand what we’re already doing,” Francois continued. “And that’s why I think it’s so timely that this award came along. It gives us the opportunity to go even deeper into our role in the community and bring STEM education to children that need some help there. So we’re really looking forward to making sure that our Cup weekend is a weekend that sets the standard of what you can do with STEM education and diversity.”