“Autism Speaks Day at the Races” to Offer First-Ever Autism-Friendly NASCAR Race Experience for Families

A Special Opportunity to Enjoy the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Dover International Speedway on June 3

NEW YORK, NY (May 15, 2012) -- Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, Dover International Speedway, NASCAR and FedEx have teamed up to create  “Autism Speaks Day at the Races,” an unprecedented opportunity for children with autism and their families to enjoy a NASCAR race – the June 3 FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks – in-person in a sensory-friendly environment.

The day-long event marks the first-ever autism-friendly NASCAR race, and will give families a chance to experience a NASCAR 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, providing a great view of the Monster Mile from the backstretch, and will feature brief presentations by educational speakers and special appearances by NASCAR personalities prior to the race.

A dedicated quiet zone will be located inside special rooms in the grandstand, where parents can bring their kids to get away from the crowd and noise at any point during the race. The quiet zone will have muted lighting in a calmer environment, while also featuring video screens to keep up with the action on the track. Volunteers from Autism Speaks will be on hand to assist families. Members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority will serve as volunteers.

“Autism Speaks Day at the Races” is the latest chapter in the successful six-year partnership between Autism Speaks and the Monster Mile. Autism Speaks, Dover International Speedway, NASCAR and FedEx will work together to raise funds and awareness throughout race weekend.

“Dover, NASCAR and FedEx have been incredible partners and supporters, and we are extremely grateful for this exciting opportunity to not only raise awareness and critical funding, but to also involve families in an entirely new way,” said Mark Roithmayr, Autism Speaks president.

The day will begin with doors opening at 9:30 a.m., followed by brief presentations on “Living on the Spectrum” and “Autism Speaks in the Community,” as well as a briefing on the latest developments in autism research by a member of Autism Speaks’ science team and a presentation by Autism Delaware. In addition, appearances will be made by NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs and driver Jamie McMurray, who stars in Autism Speaks’ “Learn the Signs” PSA campaign, produced in partnership with the Ad Council.

Tickets for the program are sold out, but you can still purchase seats in the indoor grandstand for the race. Call 800-441-RACE for more information.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $180 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.