Thursday, just outside the 2.66-mile venue there were sounds of joy from the Convoy of Hope, a faith-based organization with a driving passion to feed the world. Following successful donation events at Darlington Raceway and Martinsville Speedway, where 1,600 families were served, the Joey Logano Foundation, the NASCAR Foundation and Elevation Outreach, a ministry of Elevation Church based in Charlotte, North Carolina, visited the iconic Alabama venue just off Interstate Highway 20.
Volunteers set up a staging operation near the track’s main entrance and spent hours organizing for the relief effort designed to bring hope to this racing community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the items donated were nonperishable foods, Coca-Cola products, gasoline cards and the NASCAR Foundation’s Speedy Bears for younger guests.
“We organized this last stop in Talladega in short order and are overflowing with gratitude to those volunteers who made it happen,” said Nichole Krieger, executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. “The Talladega community rallied and made it one of our largest and most rewarding yet.”
Families lined up one hour early as 75 volunteers, including NASCAR employees and Brian Crichton, president of Talladega Superspeedway, loaded grocery bags full of food, water and hygiene supplies into about 750 vehicles. Convoy of Hope’s contactless drive-thru ensured the safety of staff, volunteers and guests. The tractor-trailer contained 30,000 pounds of items.
“What an incredible site it was to see so many vehicles lined up early this morning to be a part of today’s Convoy of Hope,” Crichton said. “We are so glad to be a part of this incredible community. A special thanks goes to all of the volunteers who came to help today, plus the NASCAR Foundation, the Joey Logano Foundation and Elevation Outreach.”
“We want to thank Talladega Superspeedway and its staff for the warm welcome today,” said Ali O’Connor, executive director of the Joey Logano Foundation. “When we partnered on our first event 30 days ago at Darlington Raceway, we couldn’t have anticipated how much impact this relief effort would have and you could really see that today in the faces of the families we served.”
From Darlington, South Carolina, to Martinsville, Virginia, and now Talladega, the Joey Logano Foundation’s $1 million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund donated about 100,000 pounds of food and supplies to 2,350 families.
Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, is a three-time winner at Talladega Superspeedway and the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion. His foundation was looking for organizations it could collaborate with to help those in need as a result of the pandemic.
“We started thinking of the Convoy of Hope as an area that we could try to impact our communities, and the idea of doing it at the race track came to mind,” Logano said. “As we started to comeback racing, it presented a huge opportunity in those markets. … It’s our way of giving back.”
Logano is a favorite in Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race, which gets a 2 p.m. green flag start. The event is open to a limited number of fans – up to 5,000 – who will be allowed in the frontstretch grandstands and towers. In addition, there are limited motor home camping spots available outside the track high atop the Alabama Gang Superstretch.
NASCAR’s modified event procedures, protocols and number of attendees have been finalized with guidance from public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials, and the track will adhere to local social distancing guidelines. Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com for complete details or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.
The General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series kicks off Saturday’s action at 1 p.m., followed by the UNHINGED 300 at 4:30 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Four drivers – Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger – have a chance for the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus. Both events will compete without fans in attendance, but will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.