Outside of the NFL, NASCAR is the most watched spectator sport in North America. Before the economy went south, it was not uncommon to see the stands at a race jammed full of fans each week, and some of these tracks hold well over 100,000 people.
Today, NASCAR used it’s platform and reach to promote autism awareness. Today’s race at the Dover International Speeday in Dover Delaware benefitted autism speaks. Talk about using your popularity and visiblity to raise awareness. The logo to the right says a lot about the sponsoring company, FedEx. Yes, they get positive publicity, but I doubt that was the primary reason they sponsored today’s race.
Autism hits really close to home in the NASCAR community, as it does with all of us. There are a number of drivers that have promoted autism awareness for a very long time. Whether it is through a paint scheme on their care for one race, carrying the ribbon on the car for a whole season, auctioning off a specially-designed helmet, or any other number of ways, the NASCAR community has long been a supporter of autism awareness. At today’s race, there was a suite designated for individuals with autism to use and to enjoy the race. If you have never been to one of these events, you cannot even begin to fathom how loud they are, and having a suite available for individuals that might not do so well with the noise is awesome. Also in the suite, they had plenty of games and activities to keep kids busy and occupied. All around, it was a great event.
Driver Elliott Sadler, for one, has been a proud supporter of those on the spectrum for a long time. He has a niece with autism, so raising awareness is a natural thing for him. He has never been one to be shy about autism, or about raising awareness.