Helping the Cause
$280,000 Donated for IGNITE
Larry Jewett - February 20, 2013 08:00 PM
Ray Evernham’s son Ray J sparked an idea to create a program for young people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. That idea turned into IGNITE, and it also set the wheels in motion for Evernham, a legendary NASCAR crew chief and team owner, to design and build his first custom hot rod project to fund the new program.
Recently, Ray Evernham and the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason presented $280,000 in proceeds from the auction of Evernham’s one-of-a-kind 1964 Plymouth Belvedere “ForPly” at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction to the Autism Society of North Carolina to benefit IGNITE, the new community center in Davidson, North Carolina, co-founded by Evernham.
IGNITE, operated by the Autism Society of North Carolina, is a membership-based community center for young adults with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. IGNITE provides members an opportunity to explore their talents and interests, develop social skills and become more involved in the local community. It is located in the Cotton Mill in Davidson, North Carolina.
The ForPly, housed in the restored body of a near-half-century-old 1964 Plymouth Belvedere – the year, make and model that won the 1964 Daytona 500 and NASCAR Grand National Championship -- features a Kasey Kahne-driven Dodge racing powertrain, plus the driveline of a modern day race car that Evernham’s former team Evernham Motorsports built and raced at the Daytona 500. The one-of-a-kind ForPly, which was restored and built at the Ray Evernham Enterprises facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, is the first custom design and build project by Evernham.
“We saw the need in the community for a program and a place where young adults with autism and Asperger’s can go not only to make friends and socialize, but to learn new job skills and life skills,” said Evernham. “We looked at options around the region and there really weren’t any, so we were able to work with the Autism Society of North Carolina to create a unique new community called IGNITE.”