Winning the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge (www.ToyotaRacingDreamBuild.com) — a vehicle-modification build competition pitting four legendary racers and their dream cars against each other — will earn the champion more than bragging rights. Toyota will award a check for $50,000 to the winner’s designated charity. In addition, second, third and fourth place will receive $25k, $15k and $10k, respectively.
The four contenders, who are racing against the clock to complete their vehicle in just a few short weeks, are: NASCAR Chase for the Championship contender Clint Bowyer, who is building an ultra-high-tech Prius in hopes of benefitting the Emporia Community Foundation; NHRA Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown and his drag-race-inspired Sequoia, whose victory could assist Racers for Christ; NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch, who hopes his stylish road-race Camry will secure a donation to the Kyle Busch Foundation; and NHRA Nitro Funny Car phenom Alexis DeJoria, who is transforming a Tundra into an all-out desert racer on behalf of Safety Harbor Kids.
Fans will determine by online voting which of the four modified Toyota vehicles will win the challenge—along with $50,000 to the winning driver’s charity of choice. Here are their choices:
The mission of the Emporia Community Foundation (www.emporiacf.org) is to improve the quality of life in Emporia, Kan.,Clint Bowyer’s home town, and the surrounding communities. ECF is a collection of funds and resources donated by caring citizens, including Bowyer himself, who have chosen to make their community a better place to live and work, now and in the future.
The foundation has contributed to projects and services focused on education, children, elder care, recreation and social care.
Racers for Christ (www.teamrfc.org) — part of the Christian Motorsports
International, Inc., family of ministries and often called “Team RFC” — was established in 1971 as a fellowship for Christians in the sport of motor racing. Its members conduct non-denominational chapel services at more than 2,000 local and professional racing events nationwide every year. Recognizing that, for many people involved in motorsports, consistent participation in a local church body is difficult, Team RFC provides the same kind of pastoral support motorsports enthusiasts and professionals (like Antron Brown) would receive from a home church, including communion, weddings, baptisms, hospital visits, memorial services and more.
The mission of Kyle Busch’s eponymous Kyle Busch Foundation (www.kylebuschfoundation.org) is to empower young men and women by fostering life experiences and helping them achieve their goals. Through special events, the foundation supports programs focused on teens and young adults, the terminally ill, safe driving and recreation. Charities that KBF supports include B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), Young Life, Speedway Children’s Charities, Make a Wish, the NASCAR Foundation, Wave Warriors Surf Camp and more.
Safety Harbor Kids (http://safetyharborkids.org/Contact), the chosen charity of Alexis DeJoria, was formed in 2007 for the purpose of enriching the lives of orphans, foster children and homeless children through education. It currently serves more than 2,000 needy children in over 15 group homes and shelters in and around Los Angeles. Its goal is to build a College, Career and the Arts Education Center where at-risk children can acquire the resources they need to get ahead in life. At each special event held by Safety Harbor Kids, mentors assist children with personal growth, motivation, career development, music and art — and in so doing create a safety net to catch the children as they grow up and leave institutional life.
The $50,000 check that will go to one of these four worthwhile causes is representative of Toyota’s own commitment to charitable endeavors. Since 1991, Toyota (www.toyota.com/about/philanthropy) has contributed about half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. alone.
The company emphasizes environmental stewardship, education, safety and the needs of local communities.
In 2008, Toyota launched TogetherGreen, a $20 million, five-year alliance with Audubon to fund conservation efforts, train environmental leaders and offer volunteer opportunities to benefit the environment.
The Toyota U.S.A. Foundation’s $100 million endowment supports K-12 efforts in math, science and environmental studies.
Toyota Driving Expectations (TDE) is a free program for teen drivers and their parents whose goal is to proactively take America’s driving youth through a safe driving experience.
In addition, Toyota supports initiatives in other areas of need, such as food, housing and the arts, in a variety of diverse communities.
Voting for the winner of the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge will open on Oct. 20 and will continue through Oct. 29. Fans will be able to vote once per day on Facebook. The final vehicle builds will be unveiled—and the winning driver and charity announced — during Toyota’s press conference at the SEMA show in Las Vegas on Oct. 30. Clearly, there will be more than one deserving winner—which is exactly what Toyota wants.