Tony Stewart to donate custom scooter, hopes to raise over $100,000 for charity

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In what could very well be the ultimate souvenir for Tony Stewart fans, the three-time Sprint Cup champion announced Thursday that he’ll donate the custom scooter he used for several months while rehabbing from last August’s gruesome sprint car accident to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.

In turn, the Foundation will place the scooter up for bid at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction April 11-13 in Palm Beach, Fla. It’s expected the one-of-a-kind ride could fetch $100,000 or more.

“We thought long and hard about what we should do with the scooter when we were finished with it,” said Stewart, who will climb back into a Sprint Car for the first time since last August’s crash on Friday. “After working with Darrell Gwynn and his foundation for so many years, I know there are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate, and that a scooter is a way of life.

“The scooter I used after my accident is top of the line, and it will serve someone very well. I want it to go to a deserving person, but I also want it to help others. Auctioning it off at Barrett-Jackson, where all the money will go to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, allows Darrell and his group to serve its mission by providing support for people living with paralysis.”

After undergoing three surgeries, Stewart managed to get around in the custom-made four-wheeler both at his team’s headquarters in suburban Charlotte, as well as at several races he attended late in the season.

But there’s more to just donating the scooter to raise funds for the foundation Gwynn started nearly 20 years ago after being paralyzed in a drag racing accident.

Stewart and his team have gone all out to trick out the scooter with a paint scheme that mirrors his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS. In addition, the overall package will include Stewart’s signature on the scooter and a race-worn firesuit, as well as a trip and accommodations for two to the Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5.

And the topper of the package: the highest bidder and guest will have two of the best seats in the house for the race, watching from atop Stewart’s pit box.

Stewart hopes to ultimately raise more than $100,000 for Gwynn’s foundation, pledging to match the first $50,000 bid made for the scooter.

“I’m putting my money where my mouth is, too,” Stewart said. “The scooter and the money will be well served by Darrell and his team, who have donated wheelchairs to hundreds of individuals through its National Wheelchair Donation Program. I’m impressed with everything Darrell has done for others and I’m very proud to contribute to his foundation’s mission.”

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.