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AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 13: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Maytag Ford, leads the field to the green flag to start the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 13, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) | Getty Images
AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 13: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Maytag Ford, leads the field to the green flag to start the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 13, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Cruise for a Cause: Track Laps for Charity Returns to Phoenix Raceway on Oct. 1

A fun conversation about the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs did a lot of good on Tuesday at the Arizona Biltmore.

The NASCAR Championship Ignition Luncheon raised more than $40,000 for Phoenix Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Master of ceremonies and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett led a stirring conversation with fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and 2022 NASCAR regular-season champion Chase Elliott.

More importantly, they highlighted the on-going battle Phoenix Children’s wages against pediatric cancer. They were joined on stage by Dr. Mario Otto, whose research focused on adaptive immunotherapy for pediatric malignancies, stem cell graft engineering and molecular-targeted radiotherapy, are making a difference.

Yet it was 10-year-old Daniel Sanchez’ presence on stage that stirred the crowd the most. Sanchez, who is battling osteosarcoma — a form of bone cancer — received a standing ovation and was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by Gordon, Elliott, team owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron and Kyle Larson.

“Our NASCAR champions and the champions of our community made an impact today,” said Phoenix Raceway President Julie Giese. “Not only did they bring joy to Daniel, they also provided additional resources to bring more joy to other children and their families going through the most difficult of circumstances.”

— Phoenix Raceway —