One NASCAR team changed its paint scheme to ‘Pray for Texas’ – For The Win
Long before they were NASCAR team owners, Rick and Lisa Ware were high school sweethearts from the Houston area who spent their second date at a race track. Even though they moved to the heart of NASCAR in North Carolina, Rick said they’re still “100 percent” Houstonians.
So when Hurricane Harvey destroyed the nation’s fourth-largest city – some of their family members are among those who had to evacuate because of the disastrous flooding, and their high schools are under water – they were compelled help.
In the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Rick Ware Racing scrapped the original throwback paint scheme on son Cody Ware’s No. 51 Chevrolet for Sunday’s Southern 500. The car still resembles the one Tom Cruise drove in Days of Thunder, but “Pray for Texas” is written across the hood and sides.
“Last-minute is an understatement,” Rick said of the changes they made to the paint scheme Wednesday ahead of the Darlington Raceway event. “Tragedies happen, but you always look at things differently when family members are involved and it’s your home. This was something that was so catastrophic that I think it’s only going to get a little bit worse before it gets better.”
Rick called the decision to honor his home state a “no-brainer,” and the team’s sponsors were OK being an afterthought in the paint scheme with smaller logos and matching the colors of the car so “TEXAS” would stand out more.
“It takes money to run these race cars, and I think the whole world knows that, but this is a weekend is not about dollars for us anyway,” Rick said. “Nobody even balked – who would?”
Other racing teams and sponsors have a similar mindset. Thursday, Team Penske and sponsor Shell-Pennzoil announced Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford will now have a Red Cross paint scheme. Logano said he is donating $25,000 for disaster relief while Shell pledged $1 million to the Red Cross.
Beyond the Ware family’s No. 51 car this weekend, the team has a longterm plan for fundraising as well.
It’s in the process of getting a diecast model car made and putting together t-shirts to sell, starting this weekend. All of the proceeds from both products will be donated to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and the goal is to raise as much money as possible before the November playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway, Rick said.
He wants to use his and NASCAR’s platforms to make sure people don’t forget how disastrous this storm was and how long it will take Houston and its residents to rebuild their lives.
“There are going to be places that are still probably going to be wet two months from now,” Rick said. “It’s human nature – catastrophic things happen, and then you get busy and go on to the next thing. That’s the way life is because everybody’s busy in survival. …
“We’re going to try and get people to go, ‘Hey, we’ve got 100 bucks, and we’re gonna send it.’ We can only personally donate so much cash – and we are going to donate money – but we can also give a platform. And Texans are tough – they really are tough people. But that said, people are hungry, and they can’t drink water.”