Kick-It Charity Back in Knoxville, Raising Money for Kids!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Kick-It Charity Back in Knoxville, Raising Money for Kids!

by Joanne Cram

The third annual Tony Stewart Kick-It Cup and second annual Weld Racing Go Kart Spectacular are just around the corner! These events continue to grow in popularity as a Knoxville Nationals “must do’s”. This year’s events will be held on Wednesday, August 6th, and Friday, August 8th.

The history of these events is short, but have taken off in success at a rapid rate. The charity, Kick-It For Children’s Cancer, is a program of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. Kick-It allows an avenue for a friendly, yet fiercely competitive kick ball game to take place, and raise money for children’s cancer research. The game originally filled a place in the Knoxville Nationals week of events that once held the “Celebrity Softball Game”. Once the softball game ceased, there was a natural segway for the Kick-It game to be born into tradition.

Originally, Kick-It debuted as a partner with Shane Stewart’s Paul Silva Owned #57 in 2012. Kendra Jacobs and Shane Stewart decided that it would be a great opportunity to introduce sprint car racing to the Kick-It games, benefiting the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation! Kendra organized the function, with a goal of raising $2,000 the inaugural year. Between the game and live auction, the team raised over $23,000 for children’s cancer research!

After the success of the first year, Kendra was back on board to organize the second annual Kick-It Game. In 2013, the organizing team added more Kick-It teams, allowing for a 4 team tournament. The teams consisting of 9 players have ranged from race car drivers, driver’s wives/girlfriends, to other “celebrities” in the racing community. Additionally, Kendra added a silent auction.

Seeing the amazing outpouring of support from sprint car fans, Tony Stewart proposed the idea of fans paying to race against some of their favorite NASCAR drivers to raise additional funds for Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. The Tony Stewart Kick-It Cup’s first annual race took place last year on the Wednesday of the Nationals. The 2013 events brought in just under $100,000 in total funds raised between both events.

With 2014 bringing the 3rd Annual Kick-It Events, the organizing team is ready to challenge sprint car fans to meet or beat last year’s figures. This year’s Kick-It Game will be held at Young’s Park, just south of the track, from 11-2 on Friday. There will be a newly added Fan Fest beginning at 11:00 which will include meet and greets, autographs, kids’ competitions, and a carnival-style atmosphere. The goal of the organizing team is to make this a fun-filled, family friendly atmosphere. The Fan Fest will allow fans something to do before the games begin, and offer them other opportunities to interact with the Kick-It Game. Fans will have the opportunity to visit different booths for face painting, tattoos, food and drink vendors, as well as celebrity autograph booths (Bobby Allen, Shane Carson, Kenny Jacobs, Rick Ferkel, and even the King of the Outlaws himself, Steve Kinser!). There will also be a new The Minnesota Mafia Kid’s Kick-It Contest; any child from 3-12 can sign up at the Fan Fest and compete. The longest kick in each age group will win a Kick-It prize!

The kickball game will begin promptly at 12:00, with teams exclusively made up of this year’s Knoxville Nationals drivers. During the 7 inning game, fans will have an opportunity to bid on a wide variety of silent auction items from 11:00-1:30. A live auction will take place intermittently during the game between 12:00-2:00 pm, with a scheduled intermission between the 3rd inning to auction off some of the bigger items. Anyone wishing to add donation items can do so up to the time of the competition. Should you wish to contact to donate, you can email

Be sure to follow the new Facebook page as well, at Kick-It: Knoxville Nationals.

This year’s Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular will take place on Wednesday, August 6th, from 2-4 pm, at Slideways Karting Center just north of town. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under! The event features 50 $300 minimum donation spots for racers; this year, spots sold out in 36 hours. More than 50 fans will have a chance to compete against Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, and Kyle Larson.

In addition to the Kick-It events, fans will be excited to know that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year leader and former sprint car driver Kyle Larson will be a guest bar tender, serving your drinks at Dingus Lounge, directly across from Knoxville Raceway, starting at 2:00 pm on Thursday, August 7th. Kyle Larson is not a certified bar tender, but all tips in his attempts to make your drink will be donated to the Kick-It Knoxville Nationals events.

The Kick-It games have been popping up all over the country in support of kids’ cancer research. The organization has brought in over a half million dollars since it’s birth in 2012. Each year the organization is overwhelmed by the continued generosity of sprint car racing fans.