The FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks on Sunday Afternoon will cap off a weekend that has been entirely dedicated to Autism Awareness. Dover Motorsports was the first to introduce Autism Speaks to the world of Nascar in 2007, by becoming the first track to put a charity on their signature race. This will be the sixth year the track has partnered with Autism Speaks to raise awareness at The Monster Mile.
Autism Speaks events will continue throughout the weekend as drivers from all three series will step up their awareness efforts for all events by displaying an Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo on their cars. This will begin Friday Night with the Lucas Oil 200 and include the Nationwide cars on Saturday.
Not only will Dover Motorsports work to raise awareness, but are providing the first-ever autism friendly Nascar race where families will have an opportunity to experience a race in an environment specifically designed for the enjoyment of children with autism. Autism Speaks Day at the Races will be held in Dover’s air-conditioned grandstand, offering a great view of the Monster Mile from the backstretch and will feature brief presentations by educational speakers in the morning, special appearances by NASCAR personalities, food and drink and much more.
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., affecting 1 out of every 88 children, and receives less than 5% of the funding of less prevalent childhood diseases. Autism costs are a staggering $126 Billion a year. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.
Like many others, I was made aware of Autism through the “Odds Campaign” that has been running on radio and television, and through celebrities whose lives have been touched by autism such as Ernie Els and Toni Braxton. In November of last year Tommy Hilfiger and Jammie McMurray from Nascar were added to this campaign which launched in 2006.
I read this letter on the Autism Speaks Website from a lady who’s son loves Nascar, but could never attend because of the crowds, noise and sheer mayhem and decided that it was so special that I needed to share it with you. Causes like this one are what makes Nascar, and Nascar Fans, the greatest fans on earth. This is why I’m always proud to say “I’m a Nascar Fan”.
Melissa Olimpaito is the mom of a 15 year-old boy on the autism spectrum who is a NASCAR fanatic. She wrote this heartfelt note to our friends at Dover Speedway.
Hi. I’m writing in reference to the June 3rd “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” at Dover Speedway in Delaware. My husband and I will be attending the race with our 15- year old autistic son as part of the special sensory-friendly Autism Speaks Day at the Races program. My son is a huge fan of all sports and especially loves NASCAR. When I heard that you were creating a special section of seats in your indoor grandstand I couldn’t believe it. It was like hitting the lottery because we have always wanted to have him attend a race but the noise, bleachers and crowds are way too overwhelming.
Since we told him about going he hasn’t asked about the drivers, Junior and Danica being his favorites, but if he could meet the flagman or officials, wave the flag, or help the pit crew get the gas and tires ready. All the things I think are probably overlooked by many. It’s funny because I’ve been with my husband to Dover several times, not by my choice…lol…it’s a lonnnnngggg day for me since I’m not such a huge fan. But it has been a long time since I have been so excited about an event. I hope he enjoys it as much as I think he will. Thanks to whoever organized this race. What an opportunity of a lifetime this will be for him!
Image Courtesy Getty Images For Nascar
Blog Post Courtesy AutismSpeaks.org
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