SURVIVORS FETED - The Atlanta Motor Speedway infield was dotted with pink Friday morning as more than 40 breast cancer survivors and their families were treated to a special "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" event, hosted by Chevrolet and the American Cancer Society. It was the fourth annual "Making Strides" event, one which has even more special meaning for the AMS staff since the passing of longtime Director of Communications Marcy Scott last fall due to breast cancer.
"Marcy helped the first event get off the ground, and she loved seeing the faces of the breast cancer survivors light up as they took pace laps and met NASCAR drivers," Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said. "I love that we're able to continue to honor her memory and also provide an amazing experience for more survivors."
One of those survivors is Amber Gaddis, a 912-day survivor of Triple Negative breast cancer, a rare form of breast cancer that gets its name because the three most common types of receptors known to fuel breast cancer growth are not present. The diagnosis often means a different type of treatment and a less optimistic survival rate for the first five years. But with two-and-a-half years in remission, Gaddis was celebrating on pit lane with a few hot laps in the pink Chevy SS pace car with NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick.
"Kasey Kahne used to be my favorite driver," Gaddis said. "But Kevin was wonderful; he asked what my biggest fear to overcome was, and I said I've already conquered it. I survived Triple Negative breast cancer with my triple-positive attitude. Everything else is icing on the cake."
For Harvick, it was a mindful way to start race weekend.
"These women that have battled and fought through it, you see how positive their outlook is on life," Harvick said. "It's very inspiring; it's good to come out in the morning and see that."
Chevrolet will donate $250 per lap under caution, adding to the more than $3 million already donated to Making Strides.
DILLON TO DEBUT - Ty Dillon has raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway exactly once, starting and finishing first in the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 race. This weekend probably won't be so easy, as Dillon makes his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut, but he's comforted by the knowledge that he knows how to run this fast mile-and-a-half track.
"I haven't been here in two years, and the last time I was here I won, so I feel like I've got a pretty good grip on this race track," Dillon said. "This is a huge moment in my career, to make my first Sprint Cup Series start in a sport that I've been a part of my whole life. I've been coming to Atlanta for such a long time, it's almost like a second home track to me."
Dillon will also compete in Saturday's Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed The Children NASCAR Nationwide Series race.