CHARLOTTE (April 26) -- Shirley's Kids, the charity headed by NHRA legend Shirley Muldowney, had another successful weekend in its quest to lend a hand to children in need in the markets where drag racing has become a part of the community.
Muldowney welcomed 6-year-old Kevin Bean and his family to the seventh annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods on Sunday at zMax Dragway. Through a donation underwritten by Stan and Sheila Holt of Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurant, Shirley's Kids presented Kevin and his family a $5,000 check to help with medical expenses related to Kevin's recovery from brain cancer.
Plus, the lovable and precocious Kevin was given VIP treatment throughout the day.
"Kevin called it 'que padre,' which means 'biggest thing ever,' " his father, Jim Bean, said. "It was a complete day of shock. It will probably take a week to come down from that, a month to absorb it all, probably a year to understand it, and a whole lifetime to remember. It was quite amazing."
During driver introductions before Sunday's eliminations, Kevin was brought on stage with Muldowney, who told a crowd of 50,000 people all about Shirley's Kids. Kevin and his family were then surprised with a $5,000 check from the charity, with Muldowney telling her new friend to "take some of this and go to Toys 'R' Us and have a ball."
Kevin was a hit with the many NHRA drivers he met during the day, as he and his family spent a lot of time in the track's pit area.
"It was pretty awesome," Jim Bean said. "The racetrack, the drivers, the staff, everything. It was completely incredible. Everyone invited us in, and it was like there weren't any strangers. Jack Beckman even let Kevin help him pack his parachute, and Kevin got to play in the track's play area. It was all so awesome.
"This was probably the most excited I've ever seen him. We've been a lot of places and have seen a lot of things, but he just couldn't get over how awesome the whole deal was. It was so special."
Muldowney is slated to attend several NHRA national events in 2016 as Shirley's Kids continues to help children in need. The next race on her schedule is this weekend in Houston. She also will attend races in Atlanta, Englishtown, Bristol, Denver, Indy, the second Charlotte event, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Pomona, as well as the Jr. Drag Racing Western Conference Finals in Tulsa, Okla.
For more information or to help support the cause, visit ShirleysKids.org.
Shirley's Kids is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity created to help children in need. Because the charity's namesake, four-time world champion Shirley Muldowney, has lived her life in drag racing, the organization first seeks out deserving children within the drag racing community. Recipients may be struggling with medical issues or financial hardships brought on by a personal or family tragedy. Because of corporate support, Shirley's Kids proudly declares that 100 percent of all proceeds raised go directly to the designated children.
"I was really impressed with Shirley and her team," Bean said. "Nicci (Gustavus), Rob (Geiger), and Frank (Bellini) made Kevin's day. And I also can't wait to thank Stan and Sheila Holt in person one day. They are Kevin's angels."
ShirleysKids.org, Muldowney.com, and GeigerMediaGlobal.com for more information.