Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Former speedway exec Humpy Wheeler to be honored

   The North Carolina Motorsports Association will honor legendary racing promoter H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler with its Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award at the seventh annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank. The ceremony will take place Jan. 28 at the Embassy Suites Concord.

   The NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank pays tribute to North Carolina's $6 billion motorsports industry. Each year, the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award recognizes a person whose contributions to racing have made an immeasurable impact on motorsports in North Carolina. Previous recipients were Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson and O. Bruton Smith. In addition, NCMA presents industry awards to various North Carolina entities that have positively affected the motorsports community within the state.

   Often referred to as the P.T. Barnum of motorsports, Wheeler is best known for serving as president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway for 33 years, ending in 2008. During his tenure at CMS, his extravagant pre-race ceremonies and dedication to the fan experience were second to none.

   Under his leadership, the speedway became the first modern superspeedway to host night racing with the NASCAR All-Star race while making the Coca-Cola 600 one of NASCAR's premier events. He also served as president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the parent company of CMS. SMI became the first publicly traded motorsports company when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995.

Jimmie Johnson Foundation awards grants to four Charlotte area schools

   Nearly $600,000 in grants - including four grants to schools in the Charlotte area - were awarded on Tuesday as part of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation's Champions Grant program. The foundation awards the grants to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson’s respective hometowns of Muskogee, Okla., and El Cajon, Calif., and where they currently reside in Charlotte. This brings the contributions of the Champions Grant program to more than $2.6 million.   

   “Chandra and I are excited by the opportunity to impact thousands of children each year through the Champions Grant program,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. “It was amazing to see how the schools had such different needs, and they were all compelling. We are very proud to partner with our friends at Lowe’s to play a part in assisting K-12 public education through this program.” 

   Funded projects ranged from a digital fabrication lab to fitness labs to a complete performing arts stage restoration. Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers.

    The 2012 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools:


    -Construction Tech Academy (San Diego, Calif.)
    -Flying Hills Elementary School (El Cajon, Calif.)
    -Santana High School (Santee, Calif.)

    North Carolina
    -A.T. Allen Elementary School (Concord)
    -Billingsville Elementary School (Charlotte)
    -KIPP: Charlotte (Charlotte)
    -Piedmont I.B. Middle School (Charlotte)

    -Alice Robertson Junior High (Muskogee, Okla.)
    -Creek Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)
    -Irving Elementary School and Pershing Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)