By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor
The annual Stocks for Tots charity event put on by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame was recognized by the local community with a prestigious award.
The 2022 running of the charity event marked the 33rd time the motorsports community gathered to raise money for children in the local community. With over 200 tickets sold, both general and VIP tickets, the event led by N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame Board Member Don Miller raised an estimated $10,000 for children in Iredell County, N.C.
The Mooresville Chamber of Commerce recognized the continued efforts of Miller, the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and the motorsports community. With that recognition came the prestigious Duke Energy sponsored Citizenship & Service Award. That is an acknowledgement of the dedication that the Stocks for Tots event has had for improving and supporting the community.
“Every year the [Mooresville, N.C.] Chamber of Commerce has an awards program that they put on and over the years it’s grown and grown in size,” Miller explained. “They look for a bigger facility to handle it because there is a lot of participation in as this little community of Mooresville grows, all of that expands along with it, so there’s a lot of very, very high-tech small businesses that support all the other industries around here, and there’s a lot of people competing for all of these awards.
“This particular award, the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award, is one where they look at who has done a rather outstanding amount of work towards making the community better, strengthening the community and supporting some of the weaker sectors of the community. I think that’s where Duke Power has stepped up and they’ve done an excellent job promoting it and making people understand what it’s all about and that’s why it was so important to me that Stock for Tots was getting that award.”
The 2022 event is not the first time that Stocks for Tots has received the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award. The N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame also received the award in 2019, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic and its’ effects forced the cancellation of the 2020 running of Stocks for Tots. The event returned in 2021 though there was some wariness and health concerns from fans. Fast forward to 2022 and both the racing community and race fans came out in droves to support PHAROS Parenting.
Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., and Kelley Earnhardt-Miller joked with Miller that the event had gone into overtime. The number of race fans that came out to support the community pushed the two-hour scheduled event into over three hours.
“I was surprised to see it because before the great fiasco we had with the pandemic we made a run at it and we got the award in 2019,” Miller recalled. “Then came the pandemic, and everything fell apart. It’s been a really, really difficult rebuilding [period] and I was shocked when we got this. (Receiving) this (award) was really amazing to me.
“It meant an awful lot because of all the racers (that came to Stocks for Tots). This was one of the biggest turnouts by the racing community this last year that we’ve had in probably 15 years, I mean, it was really amazing there was a completely full arena for us to provide the entertainment for the people that night, it was amazing because it was every kind of motorsport participated from drag racing on up through sprints, [IndyCar, Late Models, and IMSA, and NASCAR]. God it was amazing.”
While this was the second time that Stocks for Tots has received the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award, it is the 12th humanitarian award that the event and Miller have received. That includes the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award.
However, each of those awards are not exclusively representing Miller. They represent the volunteers that work at the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame, the volunteers that put on the Stocks for Tots event, the drivers and members of the motorsports industry that take part in the event, and the fans that donate to support the community and the event.
“This award is not for Don Miller,” Miller humbly said. “This award is for all the people that participated, from every racer that signed his (or her) name that night, to all the people at the museum in at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. (They’re the ones) who are the group that really drives our end of Stocks for Tots. They are all volunteers, and they all break their backs to make it more successful every year.”
The 2023 event is on tap to be just as big as the 2022 Stocks for Tots. Although the number of tickets available may drop to 200, it coincides with the 150th anniversary of Mooresville, N.C. which adds to the significance this year.
The 34th Annual Stocks for Tots event will take place in December after the completion of the IMSA, IndyCar, NASCAR, and NHRA seasons.