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Rayce Rudeen Foundation Joins Tony Stewart Racing

The Rayce Rudeen Foundation has partnered with Tony Stewart Racing in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, and the non-profit organization that honors the life of Rayce Rudeen will be emblazoned on the Top Fuel dragster of Leah Pruett during the DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals July 22-24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

The Rayce Rudeen Foundation works with organizations and programs to encourage a healthy and productive life that is free of addiction. The designated 501(c)(3) is named in honor of Rayce Rudeen, who at age 26 passed away from an accidental Fentanyl overdose. Since its inception, the Rayce Rudeen Foundation has advocated for creating a supportive community in which everyone can access prevention, treatment, recovery and family-support services, all free from stigma. That message will be carried on Pruett’s blue-and-yellow Top Fuel dragster at Sonoma. Following Sonoma, the Rayce Rudeen Foundation will remain on Pruett’s car as an associate partner with branding near the canopy.

“Motorsports has always been a part of our family, and when Rayce died it was the motorsports community that provided incredible support and understanding when we needed it the most,” said Kevin Rudeen, Chairman of the Board, Rayce Rudeen Foundation.

“We formed the Rayce Rudeen Foundation is Rayce’s memory. The racing community is very special to us, and we want to empower the racing community to fight the disease of addiction. By sharing our story and the mission of the foundation in an industry that touches so many, we feel it’s an excellent way to raise awareness and support for those who battle addiction and/or those who have a loved one struggling with addiction.

“The Rayce Rudeen Foundation Top Fuel dragster that Leah Pruett will race at Sonoma is so much more than just a racecar. It’s megaphone to help those with addiction, while also providing the necessary resources and understanding to their loved ones.”

By collaborating with local universities, researchers, organizations, businesses and community coalitions, the Rayce Rudeen Foundation is leading communities toward a united and compassionate response to addiction by identifying gaps in care and building educational tools.

“When we fly the Rayce Rudeen Foundation colors in Sonoma, it’ll be more than just a vibrant paint scheme. It’s an honored feeling that through our racing efforts we can champion their mission and deliver their message to those who need it most,” said Pruett, a nine-time winner in Top Fuel.

“The ultimate loss is losing a loved one to addiction. As someone who has formerly and recently experienced a close connection to the devastating effects of addiction, it means a lot to represent the Rayce Rudeen Foundation. I hope this car and Rayce’s story can instill both courage and support for those dealing with addiction so they can seek the proper help and get the resources they need.

“Many may recognize the Rayce Rudeen Foundation name and logo from its involvement in the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions. We’re proud to work with them in expanding their message to our fans here in the NHRA.”

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Tony Stewart, owner of Pruett’s Top Fuel dragster as well as the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1, knows the Rudeen family well. Rayce’s father, Kevin, has been a sprint car team owner for nearly 30 years. Following Rayce’s death, the foundation created a race in his memory to address the disease and remove the stigma of addiction. In 2019 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, Stewart won the Rayce Rudeen Foundation sprint car feature, which was a part of the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions.

“We’re honored to recognize the life of Rayce Rudeen on Leah’s Top Fuel dragster,” Stewart said. “The Rayce Rudeen Foundation is doing instrumental work in helping those with addiction. We’re proud to highlight this important cause and shed light on how their work can assist those in need.”

This story was originally published on July 11, 2022. Drag Illustrated

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