As Ukraine’s defence against Russian invasion continues, Roger Penske is the next NASCAR Cup Series team owner to pitch his aid. On Thursday, Penske announced that his Penske Corporation will donate $1 milion to the World Central Kitchen, which provides meals during times of crisis.
In the days following Russia launching its widely vilified invasion, Cup team owners Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick chipped in for Ukraine by respectively donating one million rounds of ammunition and $200,000 to a relief fund set up by Samaritan’s Purse. The latter added a further $102,000 after Hendrick Motorsports drivers combined to lead fifty-one laps in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas, with $2,000 per lap led as Hendrick driver Alex Bowman won.
Others showed support through special liveries and decals. The day before the Cup race, the car of Xfinity Series driver Stefan Parsons had a double stripe in Ukraine’s national colours blue and yellow with the phrase “UKRAINE STRONG” on the hood. Penske driver Ryan Blaney placed a Ukrainian flag on his #12 car’s rear bumper, while Penske ally Wood Brothers Racing added a blue strip of tape to the yellow rookie stripe for Harrison Burton.
“Grateful to be part of a family that knows when to take care of others in need,” Blaney tweeted.
“Through a collective effort among Penske Corporation companies contributing $1 million to WCK, Team Penske is helping to feed those who are in need in Ukraine,” reads the donation page. “We invite Team Penske fans and followers who would like to make their own contribution to WCK’s Ukraine response to donate below. Thank you for your support!”
Founded in 2010 by chef José Andrés, the WCK serves food for affected populations during situations like natural disasters and recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the sports world, the WCK used the Washington Nationals’ ballpark to cook and distribute meals for the locals. All WCK donation pages begin with a statement explaining the foundation works at a “24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland” and recently “expanded our efforts to serve people across the region in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary. WCK is also partnering with restaurants inside of Ukraine to get hot meals to anyone in need.”