Friday, Feb. 27, 2009 | 2 a.m.
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- Six Questions: Chris Powell, GM of Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2-23-2009)
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Tony Stewart is known as a straight-shooter, not afraid to fling a little trash talk from time to time, but on Thursday afternoon the two-time NASCAR champion was clean as a whistle.
Armed with a sponge and a hose, the Indiana native joined dozens of Coronado students for a charity car wash at the high school.
“I’m glad I was able to help out,” said Stewart, who signed a $10,000 check from his Tony Stewart Foundation and Armor All to help CHS students buy books and supplies.
“I’m also glad I was the one with the hose, so I wasn’t getting sprayed too much.”
Teacher Billy Mitchell said the money from the car wash, which he hopes will reach $1,000, will go toward Team Cougar Racing — a non-profit program at Coronado that involves everything from graphic design to marketing and pit crew work at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, featuring the club’s own race car.
“This is phenomenal,” Mitchell said. “The kids are ecstatic and Tony is over there washing cars with them. He gets a bad rap sometimes because he speaks his mind, but I respect that. He took time out of his busy schedule to do this.”
Mitchell wasn’t the only one in support of Stewart, who will take the track for Sunday’s Shelby 427 in his brand new No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala. Northwest Las Vegas Linda Mize brought her sons, Dylan, 13, and Micah, 5, to see the 2002 and 2005 Sprint Cup Series champion.
“We’re huge NASCAR fans, especially my two sons,” Mize said. “They’re both big Tony Stewart fans.”
Especially Dylan, who could barely control his enthusiasm for seeing Stewart — who admitted that one of his first jobs as a teenager was working at a car wash.
“This is awesome,” said Dylan, who goes to Becker Middle School. “I’m so ecstatic!”
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.