LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC) awarded over $100,000 in grants this evening during its second-annual Christmas Tree-lighting and Grants Distribution Ceremony at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"We are very pleased to provide assistance again this year to the children of Las Vegas," said SCC Chairperson Missy Powell. "We are extremely proud of our fund-raising efforts over the past year, and we look forward to doing even more for the community in 2001.

"We have no capital funding and no administration fees. That means that all the money raised here stays here to help children in Nevada. Last year, we awarded $65,000, so we are proud of the progress we've made in only our second year of operation. We hope to increase the number of grant applicants next year and assist a larger number of children in our area."

SCC presented grant checks to 10 local charities that directly impact the lives of children, including: The Sam Schmidt Foundation, WestCare, Boys & Girls Club, Child Haven, Candlelighters, the Nevada Association for the Handicapped, STEPS Diversion Program, Amerindian, Natural History Art Museum, and the Culture Shock youth dance troupe.

The ceremony was highlighted by the illumination of 10 Christmas trees -- one representing each charity. The evening also included a visit from NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kyle Petty, a performance by The Kirk L. Adams Elementary School Drill Team and a visit from Santa Claus, who arrived via race car.

Speedway Children's Charities is a non-profit foundation based in Charlotte, N.C., that distributes funds to charities and foundations providing medical, emotional and social services to children in need. Founded in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Speedway Children's Charities has grown into a national foundation with chapters located at each of the six Speedway Motorsports facilities (including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Atlanta Motor Speedway). The organization has distributed more than $5 million since its inception.