NASCAR Xfinity car drives Shriners hospitals into spotlight

Ty Gibbs to drive Shriners Children’s Hospitals car at Darlington Raceway
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 11:51 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Shriners Children’s Hospital is about 180 miles away from Darlington Raceway but a celebration there Thursday seemed to shorten the distance.

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs made an appearance to unveil a special edition of his No. 54 race car that prominently features “Shriners Childrens,” a sponsor for the upcoming race Labor Day weekend.

“Hopefully, we can get a win,” Gibbs said. “We have a great team behind us.”

Mel Bower, Shriners Childrens’ chief communication and market officer, said the collaboration will bring more attention to the hospital network.

“NASCAR is really popular with families and families are who we serve,” Bower said. “We are excited to combine the mission of Shriners with the popularity racing and bring all that together in a great event.”

NASCAR and Shriners patients share same spirit of moving forward

Race Day at Shriners was an especially exciting time for 9-year-old Wyatt Banks, a patient from Greenwood. His mother said he is a lifelong NASCAR fan.

“When those cars hit the track, they make the impossible possible. That’s what Shriners does,” Banks said. “It’s just a reminder of what can happen when people put their minds together. You know, they can make these cars go fast and Shriners can put their mind together to give these children the best lives that they possibly can.”

Sherwood Kaiser, a Hejaz Shriner, said the sponsorship of Gibbs’ car comes as the network of hospitals celebrates its 100-year anniversary.

“We love what we do. It’s a love from the heart. We’re very kid-friendly,” Kaiser said.

The first Shriners hospital opened in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1922. The hospital in Greenville opened in 1927.