Kick-It, a program and partner of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research, will again join Larson Marks Racing, a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series team, for the 2015 Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.
The Larson Marks Racing No. 2, driven by Shane Stewart, will honor four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who is competing in his final year of full-time racing. The No. 2 Larson Marks Racing sprint car will change to No. 16 for sprint car racing's biggest race and will be painted to match Gordon's first-ever sprint car that he raced in the mid 1980s.
"The Larson Marks Racing paint scheme is way, way cool," said Gordon. "These are my colors, when I first drove a sprint car, and the No. 16 which was my first number. This is about as cool as it gets. To see Shane drive this car at Knoxville this year will just blow me away. I love it."
Stewart, who first partnered with Kick-It in 2012, won his preliminary night race at last year's Knoxville Nationals, but finished 21st in the finale due to a broken u-joint.
"Kick-It has been a great partner of ours and we're honored every year to support them and what they do for children's cancer research," said Stewart. "When we started our design of this year's car, it just made sense to use our biggest race of the year to honor Jeff. His influence on racing can be seen at nearly every level of the sport. And the philanthropy work he does off the track is amazing, as well.
"Last year, he missed our win because of rain showers and needing to get to the NASCAR race. Hopefully, we can repeat this year and take his famous car to Victory Lane with him."
Gordon will join the Larson Marks Racing team, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and entrepreneur Justin Marks, at Knoxville Raceway for the Wednesday night preliminary race. He and his fellow NASCAR drivers three-time champion Tony Stewart, 17-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner Kasey Kahne and Larson will also compete in a charity go-kart race on Wednesday afternoon at Slideways Karting Center. The Weld Racing Go Kart Spectacular pits 50 race fans against the four NASCAR stars in an eight heat race, one feature event to raise money for Kick-It.
"Any time we can take our passion for racing and make it benefit others in need, it's a great thing to be a part of," said Larson. "Having Kick-It on our car means a lot to everyone involved at Larson Marks Racing. The events are fun. The fans love them. And we get to raise a lot of money for kids. It takes an awesome week of racing and makes it even better."
Larson will also bartend at the famous Dingus Lounge across the street from Knoxville Raceway on Thursday at 2 p.m., local time, with all tips earned going to Kick-It. Tony Stewart is the title sponsor of the week's finale, the Tony Stewart Kick-It Cup on Friday at Young's Park, adjacent to Knoxville Raceway. The Tony Stewart Kick-It Cup starts with a Fan Fest at 11 a.m., local time, and boasts a grassroots kickball game of drivers competing in the Knoxville Nationals. A live and silent auction are also held during the game.
Since Kick-It partnered with Shane Stewart in 2012, nearly $700,000 has been raised at 40 events held around in the country and in Australia.
Donations to Kick-It can be made at any time at http://www.kick-it.org/games/2015/08/4th-annual-tony-stewart-kick-it-cup. For more information on Kick-It and how you can host a kickball game to raise money for children's cancer research, visit http://www.kick-it.org/jeffgordon. For information on the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, visit http://www.jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org.
The official Jeff Gordon Store will offer a special Jeff Gordon No. 16 sprint car retro tee online. The 1985 inspired t-shirt is a reproduction of the third t-shirt that was ever produced when Gordon was rising through the ranks of sprint car racing. To order your limited edition retro tee, please visit http://shop.jeffgordon.com.