CHAMPCAR/CART: Food Bank benefits form Texas race

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (April 24, 2001) - The Texas Motor Speedway is gearing up for its inaugural CART FedEx Championship Series race, the Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, and race fans aren't the only ones anticipating the event. The ...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (April 24, 2001) - The Texas Motor Speedway is gearing up for its inaugural CART FedEx Championship Series race, the Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, and race fans aren't the only ones anticipating the event. The North Texas Food Bank's "Hunger Link-Prepared Foods Program" will benefit from the race in the way of a food donation. Approximately, 5,000 meals will be delivered to the food bank following the Firestone Firehawk 600 weekend through the Newman/Haas Racing Team.

The North Texas Hunger Link program was developed in 1986 to rescue surplus perishable and non-perishable foods from hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, entertainment venues, and other food service kitchens.

"As the North Texas Food Bank has had the Prepared Food and Rescue program for many years, we really target entertainment venues and have had a relationship with Texas Motor Speedway for a few years now," said Eric Cooper of the North Texas Food Bank. "This is a wonderful, wonderful new opportunity and it's great because they [Newman/Haas] called us. The food product is much needed."

The donation is slated for more than twenty shelters, primarily those for battered women. The donation is estimated to be eight-to-ten thousand pounds of food.

During a 1985 CART FedEx Championship Series race in Long Beach, California, Newman/Haas Racing chefs Peter and Mary-Lin Murphy witnessed several homeless persons rummaging through the garbage bins, searching for the food which had been disposed of by each teams' chefs. The Murphys found this to be a common occurrence at many of the cities visited on the CART circuit.

"We were shocked, I'd never have imagined it," Mary-Lin Murphy stated.

The Murphys then decided that they could package all of the food left over from the Newman/Haas hospitality tent each race weekend and donate it to area food pantries in each of the cities they visited. Other teams' chefs saw that it was a great idea and, realizing how many people it would benefit, began sending their leftovers to the Newman/Hass duo.

"It's awesome," said Ted Reader, chef for the Patrick Racing Team. "Now we're not just aware of managing how we order food, we know that we should save it and store it here as quickly as possible. At the end of every working day here, we've brought leftovers to the storage trailer."

As much as five tons of food have been delivered at a single venue, and it has been estimated that at least 5,000 meals are donated to the food pantries after each race, which is greatly appreciated by recipients.

"Our fully prepared meals will be on tables quickly after race day, but items such as fruit and cereals can be served long after we leave, " Peter Murphy said.

The food donated isn't the typical fare traditionally prepared for fans at the speedway, but rather gourmet cuisine normally found at five-star restaurants. For example, the Murphy's prepare meals such as Parisian Pork Chops (Cotes de Pork) with Long Grain Wild Rice and Porcini Mushrooms, Haricots Verts in Lemon Butter sauce and Tortillini in Palmermatana Sauce with tossed greens and grape tomatoes in Newman's Own "Oil & Vinegar;" and a Lemon Tart with a pecan crust for dessert.

Although a portion of the food prepared for this weekend's event will be uneaten, the unwavering efforts of the Newman/Haas Team and Peter and Mary-Lin Murphy, it will not go to waste.

-NHR/TMS

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Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Peter Murphy