November 17, 2009

Drag Racing Champion and NASCAR Legend Team Up at Fishing Tournament for Prevention, Awareness of Spinal Cord Injuries

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- What does drag racing champion Darrell Gwynn have in common with NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip? Aside from having the same first name, they're teaming up with Rejuvenate Auto® to provide custom wheelchairs to underprivileged, handicapped children at this one-of-a-kind charity fishing tournament.

Approximately 20 fishing boats and a large-mouth/peacock bass-stocked lake inside the Homestead-Miami Speedway await participants who will fish at the annual Rejuvenate Auto® Hot Rod & Reels(TM) NASCAR Drivers Charity Fishing Tournament with the likes of NASCAR personalities Darrell Waltrip, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, team owner Richard Childress, Martin Truex, Scott Wimmer and many others. All tournament proceeds benefit the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, which provides support for victims of spinal cord injuries and debilitating disease, and the Speediatrics® Unit at Homestead Hospital.

In 1990, after a near fatal accident in Great Britain, Gwynn dedicated his life to spinal cord injuries through the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and created Hot Rods and Reels(TM) to generate awareness and present wheelchairs to spinal cord injury victims.

In 2001, after several tragic racing deaths, Waltrip became a major advocate of the Hans device, a head and neck restraint system to prevent spinal cord injuries. He spoke of its value during a race broadcast and encouraged NASCAR to make it mandatory. Soon after, it was mandated, resulting in reduced driver fatalities.

Waltrip noted, "My friendship with Darrell Gwynn and his lifelong dedication to help children and adults suffering with spinal cord injuries, along with his courageous perseverance, truly brings all of us in the racing community together to fight the fight for the greater good. It was only natural that we teamed up."

"I'm proud to celebrate our 8th year at the Speedway and to welcome Darrell Waltrip and Rejuvenate Auto founder Joe McDonnell," said Darrell Gwynn, founder of the Rejuvenate Auto® Hot Rod & Reels(TM) NASCAR Drivers Charity Fishing Tournament. "I also want to recognize Speedway President Curtis Gray and all the racing teams for their ongoing support."

In addition to raising spinal cord injury awareness and purchasing custom wheelchairs for children and young adults, a portion of the money is donated to the "Speediatrics" unit at Homestead Hospital. This special unit, which is brightly decked out in a racing theme helps children and families feel more comfortable amid beeping medical equipment and the constant parade of doctors and nurses.

"The tournament is a terrific opportunity for fans, company officials and sponsors to fish with NASCAR pros and enjoy the thrill of a lifetime," Gwynn said. "My deepest thanks to Homestead-Miami Speedway, all our sponsors, celebrity participants and patrons who make this such a special event."

The tournament is the culmination of Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, a Darrell Gwynn Foundation initiative. Events throughout the week of Nov. 16-22 help educate Floridians about common causes of spinal cord injuries and how they can be prevented.

Darrell Waltrip, will be on-hand to give interviews and promote Rejuvenate Auto's 15-Minute Wash-n-Wax -- the only way to wash vehicles without scratching the finish. Rejuvenate Auto fills in swirl marks, creates a long-lasting polymer/Carnauba Wax shield, while conserving hundreds of gallons of water. In just 15 minutes, and at one-third the cost of traditional car washing methods, Rejuvenate Auto restores a showroom shine.

To conclude the event, Darrell Gwynn will present a $31,000 custom wheelchair to 13-year-old Kimberly Diaz-Perez. Kimberly has been afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy since birth, but her insurance company denied payment for a motorized chair that will give her increased independent mobility.

Hot Rods & Reels(TM) sponsors include: Rejuvenate Auto®, Bass Pro Shops-Outdoor World, Sprint, Hook & Tackle, Bass Online and Plano. For more information on registration or sponsorship, visit or call 954-792-7223 ext. 112.

The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about spinal cord injuries, preventing paralysis, providing support for individuals living with paralysis and, ultimately, finding a cure. To expedite specific cures, the Foundation assists in the funding of targeted research.

Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week is being observed November 16-22, 2009. Spurred by the Foundation, the Florida Legislature began recognizing Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week in 2006 and has adopted new resolutions observing The Week in each succeeding year. Florida is the first and only state to officially observe Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. The Foundation places public service announcements on radio, sends paraplegic and quadriplegic speakers into high schools, donates wheelchairs to children and young adults, and takes other actions to reduce spinal cord injuries during The Week in addition to its year-round activities and programs.

The Betty Jane France Pediatric Center "Speediatrics®" at Homestead Hospital and Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach is a pediatrics unit designed with a motorsports theme thanks to the vision of Betty Jane France, NASCAR Foundation chairwoman and founder of Speediatrics. Speediatrics' cheerful atmosphere can make a difference in the spirit and recovery of sick children as documented at the Halifax Medical Center, which launched the first unit in 1999 with the backing of Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR.

Rejuvenate Auto® is the brain-child of Joe McDonnell, CEO of For Life Products (FLP). Headquartered in Miramar, Florida, FLP manufactures and markets a number of innovative, practical home and automotive products. FLP's core products include the Rejuvenate Floor and Rejuvenate Auto lines, which empowers people to restore their home's floor and vehicle's finish, with professional-quality results, at a fraction of the cost.

Darrell Waltrip is a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, winner of the 1989 Daytona 500, and 81 additional NASCAR races. Currently he's the lead television race commentator for Fox Sports and a columnist. He's the older brother of current NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip.

SOURCE The Darrell Gwynn Foundation