Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School teamed up with NASCAR at the Speeding for a Cure gala on Tuesday, March 12 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The evening event raised close to $1.2 million for children with autism and other special needs.
The evening was hosted by Play-by-Play Commentator, Studio and ESPN Radio Host, Mike Tirico. NASCAR drivers in attendance included 2012 Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Parker Kligerman, Kyle Larson, Nelson Piquet Jr., Brad Sweet and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, among others.
Honorees included Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NASCAR Brian France and his wife Amy; Paul Charron, Director and Chairman of the Board, Campbell Soup Co.; Rick Dreiling, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dollar General; Vincent Forlenza, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and Artie Kempner, Coordinating Director, NASCAR on Fox.
Joining Brian and Amy France as co-chairs of the event were Autism Speaks Co-Founders Suzanne and Bob Wright, Mel Karmazin, Chairman Emeritus at Gillen Brewer Henry Schacht; former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and Honorary Co-chair Lorri Unumb, Vice President, State Government Affairs, Autism Speaks. Co-chairs presented the evening honorees with their awards, with the exception of Paul Charron, who received his award from Karen Murray, President of VF Sportswear.
The evening led-off with a cocktail reception in the Great Hall featuring a silent auction of NASCAR memorabilia and other unique items, followed by a dinner and program at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing. The evening was kicked-off by Mattias Hildebrand, the Wrights grandson, and was followed by emotionally impactful speeches, a lively Text to Pledge segment and awards presentation.
All proceeds benefited Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, and The Gillen Brewer School, a school dedicated to helping children with special needs. The gala marked Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School’s fifth partnership with a professional sports league for the annual event. Previous partners included MLB in 2012, NHL in 2011, NBA in 2010, and NFL from 2006 to 2009.
Photos by Josh Wong.