Photos by Daniel Coston Photography
One of the many highlights of the 39th annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive at The Ritz-Carlton uptown was a tribute to NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, a longtime NASCAR executive who in 2000 succeeded Bill France Jr. and became the third president of NASCAR.
In addition to Helton, a star-studded group of headliners including country music star Justin Moore and world-class Chef Robert Irvine, added to the festivities. Moore performed his No. 1 hit songs including Small Town USA and If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away, while Irvine prepared a truly incredible menu for attendees. Irvine is known for hosting some of the Food Network's most popular shows including Restaurant: Impossible and for founding the military veteran-supporting Robert Irvine Foundation in 2015.
"The Speedway Children's Charities Gala gives us a chance to help children in the greater Charlotte community and to celebrate our motorsports industry," said Marcus Smith, the vice chairman of Speedway Children's Charities. "The gala also provides us with the perfect platform to salute the tireless efforts of Mike Helton, one of the most influential people in NASCAR. Mike's leadership has been invaluable, and having him join us for the gala is a real privilege.”
The gala serves as a marquee fundraiser for Speedway Children's Charities' Charlotte chapter, a far-reaching nonprofit which assists children in need throughout the Charlotte area. The black-tie event features many prominent dignitaries from the motorsports industry as well as the nonprofit sector throughout Charlotte, the home base of Speedway Children's Charities since its founding by Bruton Smith in 1982.