CONCORD, N.C. – This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Hendrick Motorsports teammates each will honor a cancer hero who has made an impact while battling the disease.
In conjunction with the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers will have the name of a cancer hero above the driver-side door instead of their own name when they hit the track.
The heroes’ names were submitted to be auctioned off through the foundation with all proceeds benefiting Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Children’s Emergency Department as well as integrative therapies for women and children undergoing cancer treatments. Their names will be displayed for all to see during Sunday’s race. Take a look below to see who the drivers will pay tribute to during the playoff event in Las Vegas.
Chase Elliott will have Dr. David Elkowitz’s name on board the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Elkowitz was nominated by his wife, Stephanie, and is a die-hard Hendrick Motorsports fan. A physician from Smithtown, New York, Elkowitz survived two bouts of cancer and continued to teach at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell during his first round of chemotherapy.
“I’ve never seen someone have such amazing faith and positive attitude during such (an) ordeal,” his wife said. “My husband has taught me, his five children and hundreds of other medical students what it really means to be a survivor.”
No. 24 driver William Byron will honor David Oliver, who lost his battle with Synovial Sarcoma in June 2020 at the age of 71. Oliver was nominated by Kelley Earnhardt-Miller and is the father of Earnhardt-Miller’s cousin, Stacy Lunsford. He worked for over 30 years in the NASCAR industry, including with Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports, Curb Racing, Melling Racing and Roush Fenway Racing.
The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native was part of the championship teams of Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch during his tenure working in the Cup Series.
Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will pay tribute to Rajean Lowenstein, who was from Casselberry, Florida. Lowenstein’s sister, Nida Diekmann, nominated her after he brave fight with brain cancer. Lowenstein was diagnosed with the disease in 1994 and fought it for 13 years until she passed away in 2007 at the age of 46. A mother of four, Lowenstein has been a huge inspiration to her sister.
“She won the fight, cancer didn’t win,” Diekmann said. “She accomplished what she wanted and, for that, she will forever be my hero.”
Diekmann said she wanted her sister’s name to be on Johnson’s car because "she was a champion just like Jimmie!"
Alex Bowman will have Kenneth Chase, or “Pa,” as he was affectionately known to his grandchildren, on board the No. 88 machine. Chase was nominated by his grandson, Brendan Harmon, after he lost his nine-year battle with cancer on Aug. 25, 2020. Chase loved NASCAR and went to New Hampshire Motor Speedway every year with his wife of 54 years, Esther, and their six grandchildren to watch the race.
“For me, there is no greater way to honor Pa, my hero, than for his name to be displayed on the No. 88 of Alex Bowman on what would have been the weekend of his 77th birthday,” Harmon said.
Chase, a native of Sebago, Maine, was a huge Hendrick Motorsports fan. Harmon said his grandfather would be so excited to know he “gets to take one more ride around the track” with Bowman.