Happy tears were flowing at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, as the New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities said goodbye to its founding director, welcomed a new one, and held its ninth annual grant distribution ceremony. With more than 40 nonprofit organizations on hand, more than $222,000 was distributed, which will benefit a record 122,000 children in the New England region.

"I will forever smile as I think about Speedway Children's Charities and all the children that are positively impacted," said Cheryl LaPrade, who turned over the reins of director of the SCC's New Hampshire chapter to Hillarie Scott, following Thursday's ceremony. "Everyone at SCC, NHMS and the many non-profit organizations will hold a special place in my heart and I will forever be grateful for having been given this incredible honor of working with each and every one of you. I am excited to watch from the sidelines as the New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities grows to new heights."

Since its inception, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and SCC have distributed $1.7 million, supporting close to 667,000 children across the Northeast. Nationally, Speedway Children's Charities raised $3.2 million in 2017, benefitting 792,000 children in 435 programs.

The money raised comes in large part thanks to the fundraising efforts of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.'s (SMI) eight facilities: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

"There's a lot of hard work that goes into that final number of what was raised this year, and I couldn't be prouder to be standing here today and a part of this," said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I also couldn't be more proud of the efforts of Cheryl. She is a true champion of children and her passion and energy will be missed."

Money raised through the New Hampshire Chapter includes events such as the "One for the Kids" Golf Tournament, Champions Breakfast, the Yule Light Up the Night run, Red Bucket Brigade (July and September), Driver Memorabilia Auction, Lobster Bake, Track Walks, helicopter rides, Clay Shoot, and the Safe Kids 500, as well as the Gift of Lights.

Speedway Children's Charities is a national non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1982 with the mission: to care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. There are eight SCC chapters across the United States, representing the communities surrounding SMI speedways. Each chapter is run independently with the purpose of helping children in need within its local region.