As everyone well knows, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream is this Wednesday. Perhaps the most entertaining charity event on the planet, the race combines Sprint Cup superstars along with a handful of other big names from the world of racing in an Eldora Speedway dash for cash with every red cent from the ticket booth and pay-per-view orders going to good causes.
The Prelude, which is at least as popular an event as the average Sprint Cup race, may be the most highly-publicized contribution of racing's stars to the community, but it is far from the only one.
Many drivers and other individuals in racing have created their own foundations. These organizations donate money and supplies that benefit children, animals, veterans of the U.S. Military, injured fellow racers, to name a few. Moreover, many of the foundations are specified to target a certain group. For example, NASCAR broadcaster Wally Dallenbach Jr. created his own foundation earlier this year. It focuses on giving children who have lost a parent the chance to experience and learn about the outdoors, which is probably Wally's number one passion.
Charitable donations and efforts aside, race car drivers and the other individuals in the sport seem, for the most part, to just be good people. Sure, they may not seem like such good people at times (e.g. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick at Pocono this past Sunday), but when the heat of the moment is off of them, NASCAR people are just regular ol' good-hearted, good-humored Americans (or Colombians or Italians or Australians) like the rest of us.
The incidents and allegations that seem to rock other sports on a regular basis, from football players being involved in sometimes fatal gun incidents to baseball players trying to cheat their way into the record books to the seemingly athletics-wide epidemic of infidelity and spousal abuse, may only affect a handful of individuals in those respective sports, but those situations just don't seem to ever pop up when applied to race car drivers except in a few rare instances.
From the superstar drivers to the fans living out in the boonies that may never make it to a race track in their lives, this is for the most part a sport made up of good people all brought together by the common love of cars and competition.
Wednesday is a day to take in some great auto racing in the heart of rural America and to help support a great cause, but it's also a great opportunity to take note of - and pride in - the fact that we are all part of the greatest community in sports: the racing community.