The recent shooting tragedy in Las Vegas remains on the minds of members of the NASCAR community gathered this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday afternoon’s Bank of America 500.
Las Vegas natives Brendan Gaughan and Spencer Gallagher are heading up an effort to establish a fund to help offset costs incurred by victims and their families of last weekend’s shooting that killed 59 and injured almost 500. They’ve set up a web site at www.driversforvegas.com where people can buy a t-shirt, decals or make a donation to support the cause. All proceeds are being handled by the Zappos Relief Fund which goes into the Direct Impact Fund for families. T-shirts will cost $25 and decals are $5. Las Vegas-based Zappos will match funds raised from the site up to $1 million.
In addition to Xfinity Series drivers Gaughan and Gallagher, the relief fund is supported by Las Vegas native Jamie Little (a FOX TV pit reporter) and NASCAR drivers Noah Gragson and Kyle and Kurt Busch.
“It’s really a big deal to us, and it’s near and dear to our hearts,” Gallagher told the media on Saturday morning at CMS.
Kurt Busch and brother Kyle are also Las Vegas natives.
Gaughan has been staggered by the outpouring of support from within the NASCAR community. “To see the outpouring from the world, it’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when everyone is working together to do some good,” he said. “What can we do? Where can we help? Life has to continue, but while it is continuing, we can do a lot of good.”
NASCAR’s annual post-season awards banquet is scheduled for Dec. 1-2 at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel. Like the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, where the alleged shooter holed up during his murderous spree, Wynn Las Vegas is on the strip. They are approximately three miles apart on South Las Vegas Boulevard.
When asked about security at the banquet, current point-leader Martin Truex Jr. came up short. “To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it,” he said. “It’s hard to think about that and sad we have to talk about it. It’s awful to see what happened there. I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one making the decision to go there or the guy who has to set up security. It’s a crazy time in this world.”
A NASCAR spokesman said there’s been no discussion – “and there won’t be” — about moving the banquet from Las Vegas. A CMS spokesman said the speedway has a “comprehensive security plan” in place, and its staff and local law enforcement have recently reviewed “pertinent details” in light of the Las Vegas tragedy.