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NASCAR stars at Catawba today

NASCAR comes to Catawba

Staff report

SALISBURY — Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are among the notable NASCAR drivers that will be at the 4th Annual Dillon Brothers 3-on-3 Celebrity Basketball Tournament, this afternoon at Catawba College’s Goodman Gym.

Game time is set for 2 p.m. and there is no admission charge. It is the second straight year that Catawba has hosted the event and there will be several race cars on display outside the gym.

The event benefits the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma and is presented by Dow.

Last July 26, close to 400 spectators filled the bleachers as drivers Stenhouse, Bubba Wallace, David Ragan and Ty and Austin Dillon — along with friends and acquaintances — took the court to support the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, a charity that provides services and education for injured children and their families.

“This cause means a lot to us,” said Ty Dillon, said after last year’s game.  “Austin and I always enjoyed playing basketball, whether it was at school or in the neighborhood. We wanted to find a unique way to raise money and have fun at the same time. This thing has taken off and just gotten bigger and bigger every year.”

Billed as the 3rd annual Dillon Brothers 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, the mid-summer fund-raiser was beneficial to all. Robert Gfeller, Jr., executive director of the Institute, reported that some 12,000 children suffered traumatic injuries in 2014. By 2016,  the total dipped to 9,500.

“It’s all about awareness,” he said. “And it’s working.”

•••

HALL OF FAME NASCAR REPORTER TOM HIGGINS DIES AT 80

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Tom Higgins, a journalist who covered NASCAR for 33 years at the Charlotte Observer and was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame, has died. He was 80.

He died Tuesday at a hospice in Mooresville after suffering a stroke nearly one year ago and four days after his birthday, daughter Heather Higgins said.

Higgins covered NASCAR at the Observer from 1964, the early days of the stock car series, until 1997, when the sport began to expand beyond the South. Higgins was prolific, often writing four or five byline stories a day; his personal record was 12.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France called Higgins “a media giant” and said Higgins’ was “a must-read journalist whose reporting was rightly taken as gospel.” He also was an outdoors writer for the Observer.

Higgins in 2015 was the fourth recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. He was honored during that year’s induction ceremony and was featured in an exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

Higgins is survived by two children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial is scheduled for a later date.

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