Hendrick Motorsports has made a $5,000 donation to assist New Hampshire Motor Speedway in hosting first responders and their families during the track's July 11-14 NASCAR weekend.
The donation was made in memory of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was killed April 18 during the Boston Marathon bombing. Collier's brother, Andrew, is a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department.
The North Carolina-based race team fields the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars driven by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, and each of the four cars will carry a special decal in memory of Sean Collier during the July 14 Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"The Collier family and everyone affected by what happened in Boston continue to be in our thoughts," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Track partners like New Hampshire not only put on great events for our fans, but they're also terrific corporate citizens. What they're doing to recognize and remember our first responders will make for a very special weekend."
"It means a lot for New Hampshire Motor Speedway to honor first responders," said Andrew Collier "They're on the front lines of our communities, and it's extremely important to remind them how much they're appreciated. My family continues to be blown away by how truly amazing the NASCAR community is. This is another example of that."
Andrew Collier has started a petition to designate a federal holiday in honor of first responders. People can sign the petition at www.change.org/firstresponders.
In addition to the donation from Hendrick Motorsports, several corporations have stepped up to assist in bringing first responders to the NASCAR races at NHMS. The list includes Rexel, STIHL, United Site Services, Nokian Tyres, Ruger Firearms, Petroleum Equipment, Hampshire First/NBT Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Whelen and F.W. Webb.
"So far, we have delivered 2,250 tickets to first responders and the program will run right up to race weekend," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We are proud of the response from our corporate partners and we greatly appreciate the support of Rick Hendrick and his organization."
NHMS has also created a special T-shirt featuring the "Boston Strong" motto. The shirts will be on sale throughout the Camping World RV Sales 301 weekend with part of the proceeds going to the One Fund, supporting survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing.