The Toyota from Swan Racing that Michael Waltrip plans to drive in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 24 will honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Con., in December and raise awareness of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
“Americans everywhere are heartbroken about the tragedy in Newtown, and Swan Racing is proud to join NASCAR and the United Way of Western Connecticut to help the community move forward,” car owner Brandon Davis said.
In honor of the 26 victims of the shooting, the car will be temporarily renumbered from No. 30 to No. 26. It will also feature a “call-to-action” decal, encouraging people to make $10 donations to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund by texting NEWTOWN to 80888.
“Driving the No. 26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota is like nothing I have ever been part of in my NASCAR career,” Waltrip said. “It will be an emotional week knowing that we have the potential to do so much good for the Newtown community. I’m racing for a reason.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced that he and his wife, Amy, would make a $50,000 donation to the cause that would be matched by the NASCAR Foundation.
“Being in Newtown last week and delivering a moment of happiness to that community was unlike anything I’ve every experienced,” France said. “Looking out at a room of smiling faces amidst the aftermath of a horrible tragedy was very powerful. It hit me that the NASCAR industry and our passionate fan base have an unbelievable opportunity to rally around this cause and make a huge difference for a community in need. I am excited to witness firsthand the NASCAR community’s embrace and support of the Sandy Hood School Support Fund.”
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR