NASCAR’s Biggest Stars Help Raise Money for Cancer Treatment

Brenda Jackson

Getty NASCAR drivers pay tribute to Brenda Jackson in 2019 with special name decals.

The biggest stars across NASCAR’s top three series and ARCA are banding together to raise money for cancer treatment. They are participating in an auction created by the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and the NASCAR Foundation. The prize is the ability to honor a cancer hero with their name above the stock car’s door.

According to the auction website, the fundraising campaign began on Sept. 3. It will run until Sept. 13, providing race fans with the opportunity to place bids. The winners will place a cancer survivor’s name, a caregiver’s name, or a medical provider’s name on the driver’s car door in place of the regular signature.

“We are so excited to launch this fundraising initiative for a second year,” said Pollex, founder of the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, per NASCAR Media. “There was an outpouring of support from NASCAR, drivers, teams, and fans from across the country last year. September is a special month for the MTJ Foundation in creating cancer awareness and we are hoping to raise the fundraising bar even higher this month. We are proud to partner with The NASCAR Foundation and AdventHealth to honor these cancer heroes.”

A multitude of drivers will participate in the fundraising campaign. Kurt Busch headlines the list of 36 Cup Series drivers while Noah Gragson leads the 23 Xfinity Series drivers. 30 Truck Series rides are available, as are 10 in ARCA Menards. Interestingly, Ty Gibbs’s name appears on the Xfinity Series list instead of in ARCA where he competes full-time.

Those that win the bids for the Xfinity Series, Cup Series, or ARCA Menards Series will see their chosen individual’s name during the Oct. 23-24 race weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Truck Series, however, will showcase the cancer heroes during the Oct. 30 race at Martinsville Speedway.


The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Focuses on Underfunded Initiatives

Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. founded the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007 with longtime partner Sherry Pollex. The duo set out with the initial goal of helping children in need by raising money for cancer research and treatment.

Truex and Pollex made some changes to the foundation in 2014 after doctors diagnosed Pollex with ovarian cancer. They shifted focus and made the decision to “raise awareness, boost advocacy and generate financial support for underfunded cancer initiatives.” The new mission for the foundation focused on both childhood and ovarian cancers.

With the new mission plan in place, Truex and Pollex have made a significant impact while raising money for those in need. For example, they opened the Sherry Strong Integrative Medicine Oncology Clinic in November 2020. This clinic located inside the Weisinger Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C., provides such services as oncology massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and nutritional counseling to go alongside traditional treatment.


Pollex Previously Set the Stage for a Playoff Race

Martin Truex Jr. Sherry Pollex

GettyMartin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex pose prior to a 2018 race at Charlotte.

This fundraising campaign will not be the first time that the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and Pollex have made an impact on a NASCAR Cup Series playoff race. They also did so back in 2018. Pollex served as the honorary pace car driver for the Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Pollex climbed into the Toyota Camry TRD pace car, which featured a Sherry Strong logo on the doors, and led the field to the green flag to kick off the final race of the Round of 16. Ryan Blaney raced to Victory Lane and moved on to the Round of 12 with Truex and 10 other drivers.

“I actually cried when Marcus [Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.] called me because I was so excited and so honored to be chosen to do it,” Pollex said in a statement prior to the race. “It’s Ovarian and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, which is a huge month for me, in the month of September. I’ve been an advocate for pediatric cancer for the past 12 years through my foundation. With me battling ovarian cancer, it’s important for me to bring awareness to my disease. Just to be able to do that in the first ROVAL™ race in September is going to be awesome.

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