Voting for Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award opens

Jerry Bonkowski

The four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Ninth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award were announced Friday.

In conjunction, a nearly month-long fan vote to determine the award winner is also now open, it was announced during a press conference at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.

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The award, which honors the Foundation’s late founder and chairwoman, is given to a “NASCAR fan who has done exceptional volunteer work on behalf of children in their community,” according to the media release.

Fan voting runs through 5 p.m. ET on December 3.

Fans can learn more as well as vote at NASCARfoundation.org/Award. The nominee who earns the most fan votes will receive $100,000 that will be donated to the charity they represent. The other three finalists will receive $25,000 apiece for their respective charities.

The award winner will be revealed Dec. 5 during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at Music City Center in Nashville.

Here are the four finalists:

* Bob Behounek of Berwyn, Illinois, 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, North Carolina, 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, California, 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, South Carolina, 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.”

In the nearly one decade that has transpired 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.

Overall, The NASCAR Foundation has cumulatively donated more than $34 million to reach more than one million children.

To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and the 2019 finalists, visit NASCARfoundation.org/Award.

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