DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Foundation announced the four finalists for the Ninth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on Friday, initiating a month-long online fan vote to determine the award winner.
The finalists were introduced during a news conference at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., prior to Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500.
The award, named in honor of the foundation’s late founder and chairwoman, is presented to a NASCAR fan who has done exceptional volunteer work on behalf of children in their community. Results of the fan vote – which begins today and runs through Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. (ET), conducted at NASCARfoundation.org/Award – will be announced on Dec. 5 during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at Music City Center in Nashville. The NASCAR Foundation will donate $100,000 to the charity represented by the award winner and $25,000 to each of the other three finalists’ charities.
Bob Behounek of Berwyn, Ill., a NASCAR fan for 56 years representing Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Behounek, an artist, has volunteered for 13 years, raising funds to help families of hospitalized children with housing needs during extended hospital stays.
Angela Hamby of Locust, N.C., a 40-year NASCAR fan representing the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte. She has volunteered for 12 years as head nurse for Camp Horizon, which serves children with Down syndrome.
Todd Smith of Perris, Calif., a NASCAR fan since 2007 (when he attended his first race at Auto Club Speedway) who represents Fuel for Success, a national organization founded by Smith. He has volunteered for 12 years, introducing at-risk students to NASCAR while fostering better relationships between students and police officers.
Joe Vaughn of Woodruff, S.C., a NASCAR fan of 45 years representing Project HOPE Foundation of Greenville, South Carolina. Vaughn is the chairman of Project HOPE, which serves children with autism.
“Avid NASCAR fans; that’s the best way to begin when describing this year’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists,” said The NASCAR Foundation Chairman Mike Helton. “Each one represents what Betty Jane France stood for and what she wanted this award to be: a recognition of people who love our sport but also love the charities they are passionate about.
“These finalists are folks who root for their favorite drivers on race day but every day – 365 days a year – they’re out there rooting for the children in their community, working hard to better children’s lives. This year’s group of finalists is exceptional. Picking one to vote for will be tough for our fans.”
Since the award’s inception, The NASCAR Foundation has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 children by providing nearly $1.5 million in contributions to charities represented by finalists for the award.