Nationwide and NASCAR Event Honors Hospital Patients
To leverage its position as a key stakeholder within NASCAR’s efforts to benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH), Nationwide Insurance created and executed the inaugural Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200, the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH. A promotional event took place before the race where hospital patients had the opportunity to race pinewood derby cars against NASCAR drivers Austin Dillon and Brian Scott.
A “Patient Champion” program was created for this event to honor current and former patients at the hospital. Children were identified, matched with NASCAR Nationwide Series teams and drivers and treated as VIPs for the race. Ten Patient Champions and their families participated in memorable, unique experiences on race day including: welcoming the drivers to the Driver’s Meeting and being honored by all attendees; being introduced as VIP Guests and accompanying their paired drivers across the Driver Introductions stage; leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance; and giving the “Drivers, Start Your Engines” command as shown on the national race broadcast.
Driver Alex Bowman, whose car bore an NCH paint scheme with a Patient Champion on the hood, visited a mobile display to help fans learn about donation opportunities. A Nationwide Children’s Hospital Monarch 1 helicopter provided the flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem and remained on display at the track.
It’s estimated the race garnered nearly $3 million through in-kind, earned media and cash donations.