Marcos Ambrose has a little extra incentive this weekend. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver, who took pole and led much of early stages of last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan Speedway, will earn an extra $1 million in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma. Should Ambrose capture his second career Sprint Cup Series victory on the California road course, primary sponsor Stanley will donate $1 million to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through the Ace Hardware Foundation to benefit sick and injured children.
He certainly figures to have a good shot at it. The former V8 Supercars ace is a regular front-runner in NASCAR's road races, and scored his first Cup victory at Watkins Glen last year. He also won the Nationwide Series race on Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2011.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Sonoma and racing for $1 million to help benefit sick and injured children through 'The Racing for a Miracle' program," Ambrose said. "I'm very fortunate to have such a great sponsor in Stanley, who has partnered with the Ace Hardware Foundation and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to make this special program a reality. It's going to be an extraordinary week for my whole crew. I can't wait to get it started."
As part of the special week of events, Ambrose, crew chief Todd Parrott and members of the No. 9 pit crew will visit the UC Davis Children's Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday. While at the hospital, Ambrose and crew will spend time with the patients and their family members. In addition, the No. 9 pit crew will perform pit stop demonstrations, participate in remote control car races, go "tape measure fishing" and other fun, kid-friendly activities.
On Friday, Ambrose and representatives from Stanley will present the $100,000 donation to the Ace Hardware Foundation and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in Victory Lane at Sonoma. Following the check presentation, Ambrose, with the assistance of four current and former UC Davis Children's Hospital patients, will unveil a special paint scheme that will run this weekend on the No. 9 Ford Fusion. These four very special children will also serve as "Honorary Crew Members" of the No. 9 team throughout the weekend.
"Our special pit crew guests are going to be my four good luck charms to help me end up in Victory Lane on Sunday," Ambrose said. "My team and I are honored to be able to host these children and show them what racing is all about. It's just great to be a part of such a special program. It means the world to my crew and I to see the smiles that will be on these kids' faces throughout the weekend."
The special paint scheme will include the names of the four "Honorary Crew Members," as well as one child from each U.S. state and Washington D.C. Each name featured on the car is a current or former Children's Miracle Network Hospitals patient who has met their unique medical challenge with courage.
"The Racing for a Miracle" initiative is a multi-faceted program created by long-time RPM partner Stanley, the Ace Hardware Foundation and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to benefit ill children by raising funds for the hospitals that provide their care. In addition to the possible $1 million donation, Stanley has already pledged $100,000 to the program and has donated more than $500,000 since the inception of this partnership.