DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 8, 2015) – Four finalists have been chosen for The NASCAR Foundation's fifth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide , which honors volunteers from across the country who dedicate themselves to children's causes in their communities. Through December 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET, fans have the power to decide the winner by voting for their favorite champion for children at NASCAR.com/Award . This year's finalists include Bob Bowler of Special Olympics North Carolina, Stephanie Decker of Stephanie Decker Foundation, Carl Flatley of Sepsis Alliance and Jeff Hanson of Children's Tumor Foundation. The national winner will be announced on Dec. 4 during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Award show at Wynn Las Vegas at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $175,000 to the charities of the finalists -- with the winner’s charity receiving $100,000 and remaining finalists' charities receiving $25,000 each. The winner will also receive a 2016 Ford Fusion given by the Official Car Sponsor. The Award was established in 2011 to honor The NASCAR Foundation Founder and Chairwoman Emeritus Betty Jane France’s passion for service and volunteerism. Since its inception, the Award has donated $700,000 and impacted over 52,000 children nationally. "This year's finalists are 'raising the bar' for our award," said Betty Jane France. "They have national stature but are community-oriented. Collectively, they have done an incredible amount of important work toward improving the quality of life for children in need. "As we now go through the online process, our finalists will increase awareness of both the award and The NASCAR Foundation overall. They have wonderful, inspiring stories to tell, which is not surprising because they are wonderful people. We are very proud to call them our 2015 finalists." 2015 marks the first year of The NASCAR Foundation's partnership with Nationwide , which has a deep commitment to be "More Than a Business." "Nationwiders care. We volunteer in our communities and we help our members feel safe and protected. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award embodies those same values and we're proud to be partners in recognizing the giving spirit of others," said Terrance Williams, chief marketing officer of Nationwide . "We congratulate this year's finalists and thank them for their selflessness and leadership." Fans are encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook at Facebook.com/NASCARFoundation and Twitter on Twitter using the hashtag #BJFHAward. Following is additional information about the 2015 BJFHA finalists: Bob Bowler (Charlotte, North Carolina) is no novice when it comes to volunteerism. He has been doing volunteer work for an incredible 31 years for Special Olympics North Carolina. Bowler has assisted more than 2,500 young Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities through tennis and basketball programs and Camp SOAR, a free summer camp he started 15 years go. He has raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions for Special Olympics athletes, covering all camp expenses. Stephanie Decker (Sellersburg, Indiana) was faced with serious adversity in March 2012 when a tornado struck her home and threatened to take away all that she knew and loved. Having lost both of her legs after shielding her children from debris, she started the Stephanie Decker Foundation to help children with prosthetics get involved in sports and, in the process, provide access to the best prosthetic technology available. Decker has become a motivational speaker and an advocate, having gone to the Kentucky State Senate to fight for a bill that would require insurance companies to cover new and refurbished prosthetics. Carl Flatley (Dunedin, Florida) lost his 22-year-old daughter Erin in 2002 after contracting sepsis -- an often-deadly systemic infection -- following a routine outpatient surgical procedure. Determined to prevent others from the same fate, Flatley founded Sepsis Alliance in 2007 to increase awareness and encourage medical facilities to establish sepsis protocols. Awareness is crucial as sepsis is preventable and treatable, and the cause of 18-20 million deaths globally each year. Flatley has established educational programs and an endowment to provide sepsis training for young physicians in Florida. According to Sepsis Alliance, the organization has increased awareness in the U.S. from 19 percent in 2003 to 44 percent today. Jeff Hanson (Overland Park, Kansas) was only 6 years old when he was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that attacks the optic nerve that is caused by the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF). After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Hanson was legally blind at the age of 12. During his 2005 chemotherapy treatments, he began painting bright, bold colors on note cards, perfectly suited for someone with limited vision. Hanson turned his paintings into a fundraising platform and has since generated more than $250,000 for the Children's Tumor Foundation and more than $1.3 million for charities worldwide. To learn more about the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide and each of the national finalists, please visit: www.NASCAR.com/award .
A father of a boy and two girls with another baby girl on the way, Kenny Habul balances being a successful business owner, race car driver and family man. While in Ohio last Thursday afternoon, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his family visited the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) and made a $100,000 donation on behalf of everyone at his company, SunEnergy1. For more than half a century, Nationwide has partnered with NCH to provide life-saving care to children and their families. The third annual Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio was part of the company's effort to raise awareness and more than $4 million for NCH and its wide-ranging, world-class research efforts. RELATED: Drivers form lasting bond with Patient Champions In his 11th career XFINITY Series start and second of the season, Habul qualified 15th and finished 28th. Last month, Denny Hamlin drove Habul's SunEnergy1 No. 20 Toyota Camry to New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Victory Lane.
The Nationwide Patient Champions give the command for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Check out Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Nationwide car being wrapped for Daytona International Speedway.
Nationwide Series champion, team to spend Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott and members of the No. 9 JR Motorsports team will be on the road Tuesday as they travel to Columbus, Ohio, home of the series sponsor, to be honored for their 2014 efforts. The day-long schedule will include a visit to the Nationwide Children's Hospital, a Marketing University panel discussion, autograph session, broom ball at Nationwide Arena, team dinner and taking in the Columbus Blue Jackets-Philadelphia Flyers NHL contest. Elliott, who turned 19 on Nov. 28, became the youngest driver to win the series title this season. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner, Elliott scored his first series win at Texas Motor Speedway , and came back a week later to win his second race, at Darlington Raceway . He added a third victory later in the season at Chicagoland Speedway . With crew chief Greg Ives leading the team, Elliott ended the year with 16 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes. He and teammate Regan Smith placed 1-2 in the series’ points standings. JRM, which fields three teams in the series, is co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr ., sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick. Elliott wrapped up the title with one race remaining, thanks to a fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway . "It's just been a very, very fun road," Elliott said. "I feel very fortunate to have not just this year with Greg and with Dale and Kelley and Mr. Hendrick, and just honestly, the best group of people that you could possibly have surrounding you in racing in the past five years that I've been short track racing and whatnot. "I feel like I've had the absolute best possible people there, too, and I feel like all these people along the way have made me look a heck of a lot better than I really am. It's been an honor to work with these guys, and not just this year, but all along the way." Nationwide Insurance, which has served as series sponsor since 2008, will be replaced by XFINITY beginning in 2015. However, the company will remain involved in the sport through team sponsorship with Earnhardt Jr. as well as sponsor of the series’ race at Mid-Ohio. "What they've done with this series … (it’s) in a whole lot better place than it was when they started," Earnhardt Jr. said of Nationwide ’' involvement. "They've done a wonderful job being a part of our sport and representing our sport. They really love this series, and this series fit them very well." Ives, who will move over to become crew chief for Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Sprint Cup team, and Earnhardt Jr. will be unable to join the team on the trip to Columbus due to their participation in a Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway scheduled for the same day. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Late caution allows veteran to pass Kyle Busch for victory RELATED: Race results " Series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. - Brad Keselowski took advantage of a late-race caution to edge Kyle Busch for a Nationwide Series victory at Phoenix International Raceway , but Chase Elliott was the day's big winner at Saturday's DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans . Elliott, the 18-year-old son of 1988 Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott , finished fifth to clinch the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, becoming the first rookie to accomplish the feat. The Elliott family joined the Pettys, Pearsons, Jarretts and Earnhardts in becoming families with father-son national touring series champions. Elliott, who won races at Texas, Darlington and Chicagoland this season, did what he needed to, finishing ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith , who entered the race 48 points behind Elliott in the series standings and ran 10th. Elliott said he wasn't sure how to celebrate his series triumph. "I wasn't sure if it was OK to do a burnout lap or not," he said. "But I did one anyway because I was too excited not to. "I never would have even believed this was in my future. At the beginning of this season I had only run a couple of truck races. I feel lot of this is just due to the group of guys I was able to work with. Those guys were bringing me super-fast cars every week." Elliott's NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet did what Busch's Toyota could not do -- survive a green-white-checkered finish after Alex Bowman was slow on the track, bringing out a race-changing caution flag with slightly more than a lap to go. To that point, Busch had been dominant, seemingly on his way to his eighth win in 25 starts this season by leading 187 of the race's 206 laps. But Keselowski had other ideas, swooping to the inside and driving past Busch in Turn 1 of the final lap to prevent Busch from winning his fourth consecutive Nationwide start at Phoenix. "We didn't give up," Keselowski said. "Kyle was really fast – probably a 10th (of a second) or two faster than everybody. Then, that yellow came out and I really don't know what happened. I think we grabbed a gear and he slipped. "It was a little bit surreal. I really didn't even know the race was over. We were low on gas in that whole (end-of-race) situation." Busch was similarly at a loss for words. "The Monster Energy Camry was faster than everyone else – just not at the right time," said Busch, who said he knew he was in trouble when Keselowski's car "cut better than mine in Turns 3 and 4. "I tried to let him go into (Turn) 1 and cut back underneath, but my (car) wouldn't turn," Busch said. "(Right there) his stuff doesn't turn but it still turned better than ours 'cuz he still got me." Neither Keselowski nor Busch are eligible for the series title because they are full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers. For much of the race, Smith appeared primed to put his teammate's title hopes on hold. But Smith struggled after leaving the pits with 29 laps to go after taking left side tires on a yellow-flag pit stop. Elliott leaped from ninth to sixth in the running order and held serve the rest of the way. Busch took fresh tires during that same caution and restarted fifth. The strategy seemed to pay off as he easily got around Keselowski, Elliott Sadler and Bowman, each of whom elected to forego the pits on that final stop. But Keselowski made it happen in the final two laps of his Nationwide Series campaign. "We have a great team," said Keselowski, who did not finish worse than fourth in any of his 10 Nationwide starts this season. "I'm proud to be a part of it. It's been a phenomenal year and I'm going to remember this one for a long time." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JGR driver holds off Kyle Busch to win final race of Nationwide's tenure MORE: Full EcoBoost 300 results " Final Nationwide Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Charging away from a pack of pursuers on the final restart, Matt Kenseth scored his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win since October of last year in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Chase Elliott, who had clinched the driver’s championship last Saturday in Phoenix, finished 17th after scraping the outside wall late in the race. Brad Keselowski delivered the Nationwide Series owner’s championship to Roger Penske with an eighth-place result in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. In a mere formality, Elliott also received Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, making the him the first driver to win both a rookie title and a series championship in the same year in any of NASCAR’s top three national series. At age 18, Elliott also is the youngest national touring series champion in NASCAR history. After losing the lead to Kyle Larson after a restart on Lap 199 of a scheduled 200, Kenseth got a second chance when NASCAR threw the 11th caution of the race for a multicar wreck behind the leader moments before Larson was to take the white flag signaling the final lap, which would have made him a winner under the caution. Instead, Kenseth pulled ahead from the outside lane after a restart on Lap 205 and took the checkered flag on the sixth lap of overtime. Kyle Busch won a drag race to the finish line to take the runner-up spot from Larson, who held third. Ryan Blaney and rookie Chris Buescher completed the top five. Kenseth won for Joe Gibbs Racing in the final outing with the company for crew chief Kevin Kidd, who moves to Roush Fenway Racing next year as director of competition in the Sprint Cup Series. “It’s been a long time since I won a race in anything, so just happy for Kevin,” Kenseth said. “Happy to send him off with a win here. That was pretty cool. Kyle got around me on that second-to-last restart, but when he chose the bottom there, and I had Kyle (Busch) behind me, I knew we had a shot. “I just had to do a better job than I did the time before, so luckily, we got that one last chance to redeem ourselves.” Larson, who led 111 laps, spun his tires slightly on the final restart, allowing Kenseth to take the advantage. “I had good restarts up there until the last 50 laps or so,” Larson said. “Then I finally got a good one underneath Matt (on Lap 199) and was able to get to the lead… I was about 15 feet short of the win. Then we got the yellow, and I thought the 12 (Blaney) had been getting really good restarts, so I wanted to start in front of him (in the bottom lane). “Spun my tires a little bit, and the 20 (Kenseth) was hanging there. I was side-drafting down the frontstretch, and he was able to swerve at me and get me shaken off him. That spun my tires into (Turn) 1, and got me sideways. I was three-wide there, and that was all the 20 needed to win.” Penske won the owner’s championship with five different drivers taking turns in the No. 22 Ford: Keselowski, Joey Logano , Ryan Blaney , Michael McDowell and Alex Tagliani . The championship was the fourth for Penske in the last five years (2010 Nationwide driver’s title with Keselowski, 2012 Sprint Cup title with Keselowski and back-to-back NNS owner’s championships). “Everyone did so much to make this happen, and obviously it didn't come down until the last lap there until we knew we had it,” Penske said. “Two years in a row, I think we had four championships here over the last few years, and that's really important to us as we go forward.” MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team Penske driver will lead O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge field to green (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) MORE: Full race lineup Joey Logano picked up his third pole of the season, turning the fastest lap during Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway . With his best speed of 186.981 mph, Logano will lead the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (3:30 pm. ET, ESPN) field to the green flag in search of his first Nationwide victory of the season. He led all three rounds of qualifying. Joining the Team Penske driver on front row will be Ford stable mate Trevor Bayne , who ran his lap around the 1.5-mile circuit at a clip of 186.419. Austin Dillon, who will be making his first Nationwide start this year after being crowned the series champion in 2013, will start third alongside Richard Childress Racing teammate Brian Scott . Matt Kenseth just missed the cut for the final round and will start 13th after achieving a best speed of 184.319 mph. Clint Bowyer , who is filling in for Elliott Sadler (illness) in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11, will start 17th. James Buescher, who announced the launch of his Buescher Foundation to assist families in domestic adoptions earlier on Saturday, did not advance past the first round. He will start 28th. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where drivers will pit for the Ford EcoBoost 300 (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today The NASCAR Nationwide Series pit stall assignments are out for Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Coors Light Pole Award winner Brad Keselowski chose the first pit stall off pit road with an empty space in front of him for an easy departure. Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney , Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan also have open stalls in front of them. Chase Elliott, who clinched the 2014 series title last week, chose the first pit stall onto pit road for an easy entrance. The Nationwide Series will take the track at 4:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ESPN2. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JOLIET, Ill. -- Joey Logano is enjoying a third consecutive season in which he has qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For the second season in a row, his No. 22 Ford has been to Victory Lane on multiple occasions. His 16 top-five finishes equals his career-best earned last season, and with 20 top 10s, he’s just two shy of last year’s top-10s total of 22. He has 10 races to improve upon those marks, 10 races to try and accomplish something bigger -- win his first championship. And yet in the midst of all the excitement and determination, the focus and attention on the job ahead, the 25-year-old is also hoping for something more. The Joey Logano Foundation, through a new platform known as Chasing Second Chances, will award grants and support to selected charities in various markets along this year's final 10 races. The endeavor, which officially kicked off last weekend in Richmond, has tabbed Bear Necessities as a recipient for this weekend's myAFibRisk.com 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Chicagoland Speedway . Next week, when the series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway , it will be David’s House. A week later, in Dover, Mission 22/Elder Heart will be the focus. It will continue week after week, through the conclusion of the Chase in late November at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Some might think it's a distraction. Some might believe it's unwise to focus on anything other than trying to win the Sprint Cup championship Logano, obviously, feels otherwise. "It takes time, no doubt," Logano said Friday at Chicagoland. "But there is nothing more rewarding than that. "If you put a Sprint cup trophy in front of me and the opportunity to change someone's life, and you had to pick one or the other, it'd be pretty selfish to pick the Sprint Cup trophy, that's all I've got to say. "You have to look at the big picture in life sometimes. Yes, I want to win a championship, but that doesn't make you a champion in life. You know what I mean? A champion in life is using the tools that God's given me to help others." The foundation will celebrate its third year next spring at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , the closest site the Connecticut native has in the series to a home track. His current goal for the foundation is to reach $1 million in donations. "We have to get our foot in the gas a little bit and figure out how we’re going to do that," Logano said. "We want to do it in a creative way and a way that fits with our mission of giving second chances and helping people in the racing community and race track areas." His time spent with his team might be valuable, but Logano said his time spent working with programs such as Chasing Second Chances is just as important. Sometimes it's an appearance at a particular venue, on other occasions it might be providing funds necessary to help a charitable organization continue to provide help and assistance to a community. "I've learned that I can have just as big of an impact by meeting someone and talking to them, trying to lift them up, as a check does," he said. "If you can do both, that's what we're going to do. "I'm trying to do my part and donate my time, but obviously a lot of the supporters of the foundation, we want to make sure their money is going to the right places and doing the right things. If we can put both of those together, we can do some amazing things for sure." More than two dozen organizations receive support from The Joey Logano Foundation. "Whether it's a homeless (situation) or it's an illness a child has come down with -- if you're the family it's really hard. When their child is in a hospital three hours down the road and you can't go to work, well, how do you pay the bills? "We're working with an organization that helps that part out. It's a little different than actually helping the child. But the family needs help as well. So we're thinking outside the box with things like that." Logano himself got something of a second chance when he landed at Team Penske after four full seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing . Paired with crew chief Todd Gordon, he quickly rewarded team owner Roger Penske by qualifying for the Chase his first year, then winning five times and advancing all the way to the Championship 4 last season. Now, he's embarking on an opportunity to become one of the series' youngest champions. But his desire to help others won't take a backseat during his latest run for the title. He's making sure of that. "I want to see the foundation grow a lot. I want it to be a nationwide organization that people know and want to donate to," he said. "I realize that's going to take a lot of time and it's not going to be easy. But it's a challenge I want to pursue when I look at years and years down the road. "We want to hit that million-dollar mark when we get to our third anniversary. Down the road we're going to want to be over $1 million every year. But we have to be methodical with the steps we make, really think them out. Because it is running a business, there's money coming in and money going out. "You've got to think of it like a business but you get to run it with your heart -- which is pretty fun."