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NASCAR seeks charitable Long Island fans

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas. (March 11, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

NASCAR is looking for “passionate NASCAR fans” who work with children to offer nominations for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, which recognizes long-term commitment to children’s causes and gives $100,000 to a children’s charity of the winner’s choice.

NASCAR has long had a significant following in the metropolitan area, and Long Island in particular. Riverhead Raceway is the only NASCAR stock car track in the metro area, and hosts an annual Daytona 500 viewing party. Bob Fanin, an organizer of the party, said last year’s event drew about 200 NASCAR fans.

The metropolitan area was tied for fourth among metro areas nationally in terms of viewership per race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011, according to a Nielsen Company report cited by NASCAR. The others in the top five: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia.

Charitable members of the community can be nominated for the Betty Jane France award until May 31, according to a news release from NASCAR. Last year, the award was given to Robert Weaver, an Alabama man who does volunteer work with blind and deaf children.

Nominations can be entered at NASCAR.com/foundation. The winner will receive all-expenses-paid trips to a Sprint Cup Series race weekend and the 2012 Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas in December, and a 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid, the release said.

Three finalists will be awarded $25,000 to go toward charities of their choice as well as the two trips, according to the release.

Tags: NASCAR , Long Island , humanitarian , award

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