AmeriCarna Car Show Raises Funds for Ray Evernham’s IGNITE Program 


A decade ago, IGNITE was a brand-new dream of the Evernham Family to provide a place where young adults, like Ray Evernham's son, Ray J., could explore career opportunities, learn life skills and develop relationships.

Today, that dream is a reality, with IGNITE programs now offered in Davidson, Greensboro and Raleigh, NC, serving hundreds of young adults maneuvering their way through life.

Powering that IGNITE program has been the Evernhams' annual car show, AmeriCarna LIVE, which returned after COVID to be bigger and better than ever in 2022. The star-studded show, which featured vehicles from a range of NASCAR stars, automotive celebrities, car collectors and auto enthusiasts, was held Thanksgiving weekend at the Trane Technologies campus in Davidson, a suburb a Charlotte.

It raised an incredible $500,000, thanks to the generosity of the region’s car community and a special donation by a private collector. The 2022 AmeriCarna LIVE event featured some 600 cars and more than 2,500 auto enthusiasts in attendance.

“This has been an incredible journey, and I’m so thankful for all of the partners and supporters along the way who have made this possible,” said Evernham, founder of IGNITE, legendary NASCAR crew chief, team owner and NASCAR Hall of Fame member. “What began as a spark of an idea to find solutions for my son Ray J. turned into one location in Davidson, and has now spread across the state to Greensboro and Raleigh. I’ve met so many families with young adults who are looking for the positive, productive next steps in their lives. I’m proud that IGNITE has been able to meet that need for so many young adults, and look forward to helping more families on their journey.”

Since opening in 2012, the Evernham Family – Racing for a Reason Foundation has helped raise more than $2 million to fuel IGNITE’s growth, which has helped young adults with autism build fulfilling lives through the program. The Davidson facility opened in 2012, Raleigh in 2018 and Greensboro in 2020.

The results of the IGNITE program are remarkable. Members are gaining employment, pursuing their education, obtaining transportation skills and living independently, as a result of IGNITE.

“Through the IGNITE program, I was able to develop the skills, confidence and motivation to earn my first job, get my driver’s license and buy my first car,” said Chris Jameson. “I’ve learned so much about how to leverage my strengths and abilities from the team at IGNITE. They helped me get my current  job as a software engineer too. I look forward to see where my future can go from here and the seeing the impact that IGNITE can play on individuals who are just entering the adult world. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of IGNITE and in doing so, helped me reach my dreams!”

Thousands of car enthusiasts came out to celebrate the 2022 AmeriCarna LIVE charity car show recently on the Trane Technologies corporate campus in Davidson, presented by Trane Technologies and MSC Industrial Supply Co.

Celebrity cars from the collections of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Rob Kauffman, Rick Hendrick and Evernham highlighted the one-day event, along with show-ready cars entered by more than 600 area enthusiasts and car clubs.

A dozen car owners took home the top awards for their cars, including:

  • Most Entries from a Car Club Presented by Truist: Queen City Corvette Club
  • Convertible Choice Award Presented by the Rusty Wallace Auto Group: Jeffry Lyndon for his 1959 Chevy Corvette
  • Exotic Choice Award Presented by Axalta: Rob Kauffman for his 1991 Ferrari F-40
  • Import Choice Award Presented by the Denny Hamlin Foundation: Dick Lunney for his 1956 Austin Healey 100M
  • Off-Road Vehicle Choice Award Presented by Polaris: Della Mahoney for her 1977 Ford Bronco Sport
  • Vintage Truck Choice Award Presented by Kyle Busch Motorsports: Chris Yoder for his 1952 Chevy 3100 Pickup
  • Vintage Muscle Choice Award Presented by RK Motors: Bill Baker for his 1967 Shelby GT 350
  • Modern Muscle Choice Award Presented by the Hendrick Family Foundation: Darren Kozinski for his 2017 Chevy Corvette Collector’s Edition
  • Traditional Hot Rod Choice Award Presented by Clutch Studios: Bob and Sue Beaudry for their 1932 Ford Coupe
  • Vintage Race Car Choice Award Presented by Big Machine Racing/Spiked Coolers: Bill Rhine for his 1977 Oldsmobile Hawaiian Tropic Donnie Allison Car
  • IGNITE Choice Award Presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway: Lynda and Randy Hedger for their 1959 Chevy Bel Air
  • Mayor’s Choice Presented by Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox: Ronald Campbell for his 1970 Chevy Nova
  • Gearhead Choice Award Presented by MTJ Aviation: Bryant and Cody Coburn for their 1974 Custom Built RatRod
  • Pop Evernham Memorial Award Presented by MSC Industrial Supply Co.: Bob Foy for his 1957 Bianchina Auto
  • AmeriCarna Spirit Award Presented by Trane Technologies: Mark Sokal

Source: Evernham Family – Racing for a Reason Foundation

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