In the Pits
National Fatherhood Initiative salutes trio of Cup drivers
The National Fatherhood Initiative honored Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Waltrip with Fatherhood Awards at the Toyota/Save Mart 350, held at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Father’s Day.
Burton, Montoya and Waltrip were saluted for their dedication to their children and families and their ability to balance their busy careers with their family lives. Their stories were highlighted in a recent USA Weekend story illustrating NASCAR’s family-friendly culture.
Roland C. Warren, president of NFI, said, “Burton, Montoya and Waltrip are great reminders this Father’s Day about how important it is for dads to be involved in their children’s lives. They are also a shining example of how the NASCAR organization takes fatherhood and family seriously. For that, we are honored to give these three dads Fatherhood Awards.”
The awards were given to the three drivers during a ceremony prior to the race. NFI’s senior vice president of national programming, Chris Brown, presented the awards.
“It’s a real honor to be acknowledged by the National Fatherhood Initiative. My family is the most important thing in the world to me, and I strive to be the best father I can be to my two children,” Burton said. “Having a family is very rewarding and having family values is essential. Even with the crazy schedules that comprise our every day life, it’s important to both Kim and I to have our family together.
When I’m not racing, my off days revolve around them and that provides a nice balance in our lives.”
“This is a special award for me recognizing my lifestyle outside of racing,” Montoya said. “I value the time I can spend with my family at home in Miami and enjoy the weekends they travel with me.”
Michael Waltrip remembered his father. “My dad was always there for me. He always made sure whenever I needed any help or guidance he provided it. I always appreciated the fact that I could turn to him. I’ve tried to do the same with my two daughters, whether it’s the 20-year-old who needs advice or the 12-year-old who wants someone to go play tennis with her.”
Inaugurated in 1997, the Fatherhood Awards are presented each year to individuals, corporations and organizations that make a substantial contribution to the strengthening of involved, responsible and committed fatherhood in their work or personal lives.
* Going into this year’s New Hampshire race, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson had won 18 of the 36 Cup Series races held since last year’s New Hampshire event.
* If past history is any indication, look for Carl Edwards to finish fast this season. Over the final 20 races of 2008, Edwards had seven wins, 13 top-fives, 15 top-10s and two poles. Last year, Edward had four wins, 13 top-fives, 19 top-10s and three poles in the last 20 races.