NASCAR Cup Series

Hendrick Motorsports to donate to Ukraine relief funds, increases with each lap led

2 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Make that two NASCAR Cup Series team owners that will contribute to supporting Ukraine in its defence against Russia. On Wednesday, hours after Richard Childress announced he will send a million rounds of ammunition to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Rick Hendrick said he and his Hendrick Automotive company have donated $20,000 to a Ukrainian relief fund run by Christian humanitarian group Samaritan’s Purse. Additional donations will be made depending on how Hendrick Motorsports performs on race day, as he will donate an additional $2,000 for each lap that his team’s four cars lead.

According to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, Samaritan’s Purse will appear on Kyle Larson‘s #5 car for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Larson enters as the defending winner, having led 103 of 267 laps in the 2021 event. He added another 95 laps in the fall’s South Point 400 for 198 of 534 total laps led at Las Vegas during his championship season.

Hendrick team-mates William Byron and Chase Elliott respectively led 25 and 22 laps in the 2021 Pennzoil 400; along with Alex Bowman, all four drivers placed in the top ten. With 150 combined laps, a donation for that race’s effort would have been $300,000. In the South Point 400, all but Bowman led at least one lap as Byron contributed seven and Elliott one. Across their entire Cup careers, Larson has the most laps led in Las Vegas with 224, followed by Elliott (178), Byron (71), and Bowman (five).

“Like the rest of the world, our family has watched the worsening crisis in Ukraine with shock and sadness,” Hendrick told the AP. “We’ve been especially struck by the needless suffering inflicted on innocent children.

“NASCAR provides us with an incredibly powerful platform, and I believe we have a moral obligation to use it to help people in need. We hope to encourage others to support Ukraine, whether it be through Samaritan’s Purse or one of the other organisations.”

It was not specified if Hendrick’s drive will extend beyond Las Vegas. If it does, it could be a hefty donation as Hendrick is one of the top teams in the Cup Series, with Larson leading a series record 2,581 laps in 2021. Elliott broke the millennium mark during his championship run in 2020 when he led 1,247, and came close the following season at 952.

While Hendrick’s contribution is mainly on the relief side, Childress is directly aiding Ukraine’s military through AMMO, Inc., where he serves on the board of directors, with ammunition. Both team owners are inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Chevrolet allies.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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