Third winner to be announced at June’s West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductions
BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 1, 2023 – The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame and 51FIFTY Enterprises are pleased to announce the five 2023 nominees for the 3rd Annual Kickin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year Award presented by 51FIFTY.
This year’s nominees are:
- The Kurt Busch Foundation
- The Kevin Harvick Foundation
- The Jimmie Johnson Foundation
- Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation
- Steve Marucci Family Foundation
Description of each foundation’s philanthropic activities can be found at the conclusion of this release.
The Award’s winner will be announced June 8, 2023 during the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s induction gala, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway. The Thursday night event will be held at Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club, as part of the track’s NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and NASCAR/ARCA Menards Series weekend.
Previous Award winners are Mike Curb (2021) and the Sonoma Raceway Speedway Children’s Charities Chapter (2022).
“Three years ago, when Carlos Vieira of 51FIFTY Enterprises first told me of his desire, through the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame, to create an honor recognizing outstanding philanthropy. I instantly saw the opportunity for creation of a great initiative,” said Ken Clapp, West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame Chairman and CEO.
“I could not have imagined the impact this award would have as we prepare to bestow this honor for the third year. It has grown far beyond any of our imaginations in terms of impact and appreciation.”
The Knockin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of The Year award was brought to life by Carlos Vieira, a business man, an entrepreneur, a retired racecar driver, a father and a philanthropist. Carlos Vieira has spent years of his life living the madness, in which he has overcome obstacles and adversities throughout the years to become the success he is today.
And with that success he has been given opportunities to help others along the way. He founded the Carlos Vieira Foundation in 2010 and began the great works of helping families living with autism, mental illness and drug addiction, through programs such as Race For Autism, Race 2B Drug Free and the Race To End The Stigma campaigns.
Vieira captured all of this in his book Knockin’ Doorz Down, released in 2020, the real life story of breaking through the darkness of addiction and finding redemption. He continues to live this life of philanthropy and is actively encouraging others to follow suite. This award is a representation of that mindset. To put others first, to lift others up and to always do what we can to help when help is needed.
“Wealth isn’t just about dollars. We all have time, talent, and creativity, all of which can be used for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed,” Vieira said.
Kurt Busch Foundation
In 2022, the Foundation –with the assistance of 41 NASCAR Cup Series drivers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and 23XI – raised more than $100,000 for the second consecutive year through its Window of Hope program. The funds directly benefit the Charlotte, N.C. community through Atrium Health Cancer Institute’s Project PINK, which was established to increase access to life-saving mammography screenings for uninsured women in the local area.
Earlier this year, the National Motorsports Association (NMPA) recognized the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion as its 2022 Pocono Spirit Award. Busch twice was the NMPA’s quarterly winner – for his work with Window of Hope; and the nonprofit Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), through which he donates tickets allowing veterans to attend NASCAR races. The Busch Foundation – Vet Tix partnership began in 2019.
Kevin Harvick Foundation
A former high school wrestler, Harvick values education and understands the difficulties families may face in providing for their child’s education. The Kevin Harvick Athletic Scholarship is an ongoing, full-ride need-based scholarship in partnership with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and California State University Bakersfield.
Harvick also supports Bakersfield, Calif.’s North High School athletics, raising funds to rebuild its wrestling facility and, in 2013, donate sets of new golf clubs, golf bags, putters and team apparel for the school’s golf team.
Harvick’s organization also partners with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, which uses baseball and softball themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America’s most distressed communities. The Kevin Harvick Foundation funded construction of the Kevin Harvick Youth Development Park in Greensboro, N.C.; a second park in Harvick’s home town of Bakersfield, Calif.; and Jake Owen Field in Vero Beach, Fla.
Jimmie Johnson Foundation
The Foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The charitable organization was founded in 2006 by the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and his wife, Chandra. It currently focuses on support K-12 public and charter schools in North Carolina, Oklahoma and California through its Champions Grant program. Since its inception, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation has contributed more than $13 million to public schools and non-profit organizations that align with its mission.
In 2022, the Foundation announced 18 school projects in North Carolina totaling $468,462.47. Champions Grants are awarded in the following areas: Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); language and literacy; health and wellness and the arts. Since 2009, over $6.8 million has been contributed through the Foundation’s Champions Grant program to schools in North Carolina, Oklahoma and California.
Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation
The Foundation is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader for its unique, dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People.” With 47,000 adoptions and counting, it also strengthens the human-animal bond through life-changing programs for children, seniors, veterans and under-resourced members. The ARF’s Walnut Creek, Calif. headquarters is a 37,700 square foot animal care facility and community center.
The catalyst for ARF came on May 7, 1990 during a televised baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. In the middle of an inning amidst cheers from spectators, a stray tortoiseshell cat looking for food and shelter dashed around the field. Tony LaRussa, then manager of the Athletics, coaxed her gently into the A’s dugout where she would spend the rest of the game, exhausted from her ordeal. LaRussa and his wife, Elaine, a life-long animal advocate, discovered there wasn’t a shelter which could take the cat. The LaRussa’s took the cat, named Evie after A’s owner Evie Haas, under their wings and ultimately were able to place her in a permanent, loving home.
The experienced awakened the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame manager and his wife to the desperate circumstances in under-resourced public animal shelters and the plight of homeless dogs and cats – and inspired them to act. Less than a year later, they co-founded ARF to rescue dogs and cats before they ran out of time at the shelters.
Steve Mariucci Family Foundation
The Steve Mariucci Family Foundation was formed in 2011 by Steve Mariucci – former coach of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions and NFL Network analyst – to advance his philanthropic works and to involve his family in those endeavors. The purpose of the Foundation is to raise money and make grants to other non-profit organization. The Foundation organizes, hosts and is the beneficiary of various fund-raising events to support its purposes including Special Olympics and charities such as CreatiVets, Montalvo Arts Center and many more.
Among the Foundation’s successes is the Mariucci Family Beach House, a “home away from home” for patients and families that travel across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to receive specialty mediation care at U.P. Health System-Marquette and the Upper Peninsula Medical Center. The private, nonprofit donation-based organization ensures that families in a medical crisis never have to ask, “Where am I going to stay and how am I going to be able to afford it?”
About the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame:
The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car/motorsports competition. The mission of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is founded to preserve history and heritage of the important role west coast stock car and motorsports figures have played in the sport’s development and continuation and to recognize, through annual enshrinement, of outstanding individuals and groups within the sport such as, but not limited to, designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.
The Hall is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations and groups from coast to coast. During its tenure, the Hall has raised more than $700,000 in the past five of its 22 years for youth, health and safety, hospitals, animal rescue, military and other charitable causes.
For more information on the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com
Owen A. Kearns
51FIFTY is power! Power to overcome, power to persevere, the power to set your life on the course of success. When you’re faced with the challenge’s life throws at you, you focus and do what is needed to go beyond what is required. Stand up, stand firm, believe, make it happen and live through the madness, knockin’ doors down along the way!
51FIFTY represents the lifestyle we choose to live, to have confidence in ourselves, to not let anyone or anything stop us, to overcome all adversity. We choose to be who we’re meant to be. We help others with empathy, compassion and honor. We see a world that is destined for greatness when we lift each other up rather than tearing each other down.
We choose to help, focus on community and inspire those around us. We are 51FIFTY!