A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NASCAR legend Craven highlights Speedway Children’s Charity Dinner held in Cincinnati

By Benjamin Shipp
Northern Kentucky Tribune

The seventh running of the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway is just a little more than a week away and the eyes of the NASCAR world will be focused on the Bluegrass.

NASCAR legend Ricky Craven speaks to reporters at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse about the important work done by Speedway Children’s Charities. Craven was the featured speaker at the Kentucky Chapter’s annual dinner (photo by Mark Hansel, NKyTribune).

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is the signature event on Kentucky Speedway’s calendar and highlights its tripleheader weekend.

The Kentucky Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) and Guest of Honor, Ricky Craven, got a jumpstart on race week activities recently with the annual Speedway Children’s Charity Dinner at Cincinnati’s Montgomery Inn Boathouse.

“We all rally behind [Speedway] Children’s Charities,” said Craven. “It’s a real credit to Bruton Smith who has done so much for the sport. He’s been the horsepower behind these incredible racetracks that were built and the spectacle that comes along with it… and for the Children’s Charities, he [Smith] has been the real catalyst behind that.”

As a public figure and father of three healthy children, Craven recognizes that with fame and notoriety comes a responsibility to give back to those in need.

Craven is a retired NASCAR veteran, who has raced in every series it offers and is currently a fulltime racing analyst for ESPN. He is also a regular on the network’s signature program, Sportscenter.

Mark Simendinger, executive vice president and general manager of Kentucky Speedway said Craven embraces that responsibility.

“Ricky really gets what we’re trying to do here. He’s a class act and someone that understands the positive impact that this charity can make,” Simendinger said.

Operating as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, SCC’s aim is to help children improve their quality of life by raising critically needed funds and provide grants to non-profit children’s organizations in Kentucky, Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. As of November 2017, the Kentucky Chapter of SCC has distributed a grand total of over $625,000 in funding and assistance since its inception in 2011.

A limited number of individual tickets for the upscale charity event were available through SCC on a first come, first serve basis for $1,000 each. The experience gave attendees a rare opportunity to intermingle with a real NASCAR and one of the sport’s legendary figures, while enjoying a gourmet dinner and beverages.

This is one of many charitable events that the Kentucky Chapter of SCC hosts throughout the year.

There are four upcoming events in the month of July alone.

On July 12 is the Sixth Annual Pulling for Kids Charity Clay Shoot, presented by the NRA Foundation, allows teams of four to smash clay with shotguns for an entry fee of $1,650. Just two days later, on July 14, the Kentucky Chapter of SCC will host three separate charity events, Kentucky Speedway Military Appreciation Hospitality, the Seventh Annual Ride of a Lifetime Live Auction, and the Third Annual Bluegrass Bucket Brigade.

In August, the Kentucky Chapter of SCC will host its Inaugural Golf Outing with a date to be determined.

For additional information about these events or to donate, visit SCC’s website, or contact Dayna Winslette at dwinslette@kentuckyspeedway.com or 859-567-3417 to RSVP.

The Kentucky Speedway NASCAR tripleheader weekend is anchored by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 on Saturday, July 14. The Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 starts the weekend on Thursday, July 12 and the Xfinity Series Alsco 300 is Friday, July 13.

Fans can purchase season tickets and camping, July weekend packages or individual race tickets now by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086 just off Interstate 71 at Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North. Ticket office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Benjamin Shipp is an intern at NKyTribune and a student at the University of Cincinnati. Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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