MOORESVILLE, N.C. – The Kasey Kahne Foundation made a donation to the NC STEM Community Collaborative on Friday that establishes a grant program to fund educational field trips to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

The donation is a result of proceeds from the inaugural Kasey Kahne Foundation “Five Kahne Presented by Bank of America,” a 5K charity run held on Oct. 17 in Uptown Charlotte.

“STEM is an important part of the education system,” said Kasey Kahne, driver of Red Bull Racing’s No. 4 car for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “This program will teach young students how important engineering and technology are to the racing industry.”

The program’s goal is to provide middle school students an opportunity to augment the existing course of study in sciences and to foster interest in STEM through experiential learning field trips. NC STEM initiative will fund field trips to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, including transportation, personnel, admission, lunch, and material costs associated with each participating student.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn first-hand how STEM skills are used everywhere, including sports like racing,” said Karl Rectanus, leader of the NC STEM Community Collaborative, a statewide organization that helps generate rigorous and relevant STEM education for children throughout North Carolina. “The Kasey Kahne Foundation has a long history of community outreach, and we appreciate the chance to partner with them to reach middle school students in this unique way.”

The middle schools designated to take the first field trip on Jan. 27 are part of the Cabarrus County School system. Cabarrus County is home to Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is located in Concord, N.C. on the outskirts of Charlotte.

Up to 135 seventh grade students collectively from C.C. Griffin, J.N. Fries, and Mt. Pleasant Middle Schools will have the opportunity to take the expenses-paid field trip that will address such topics as car inspections, track surface, and pit stops featuring guest speakers from the NASCAR racing industry.

“We sincerely appreciate the Kasey Kahne Foundation initiating a program of this nature,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “These children get the unique opportunity to see the classroom come to life. Unlike a textbook, the NASCAR Hall of Fame allows them to touch and feel and really experience the concepts they learn in school, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math.

Kelley commended groups like NC STEM and the Kasey Kahne Foundation for their generous contribution and said he looks forward to many years of offering field trips and educational opportunities for young people in the community.

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