Craig Laughlin is trading in the ice for the asphalt and he's doing it for a great cause.
The Laughlin Family Foundation is joining a campaign launched by Tom and T.J. Keen of Keen Parts, the sponsors of noted Capitals fan and NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis. As part of the campaign to help raise awareness and provide funding for women's cancers, Ellis' car will be decorated pink and fans who donate $30 will get their name on the actual race car for the Oct. 30 race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Va.
Proceeds from the foundation will be split 50/50 between The Laughlin Family Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
"We're trying to combine hockey and NASCAR and it seems to have worked," Laughlin said.
The Laughlin family, including Craig's daughter, Courtney, was connected with Ellis through Ian Oland of the popular Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks. From there, it seemed the partnership was meant to be.
"It's been on my bucket list to go to a NASCAR race so [Ellis] says Craig, I've got pit passes for you and the family. Come down, you can hang out with our pit, you can put up the sign when I'm supposed to stop coming into pit row and I'm like, what?" Laughlin said. "I looked at my calendar, we're off on Saturday and Sunday that week which is the weirdest thing ever. I said there's no way we're off on a Saturday in October and I looked at it and we're off Saturday and Sunday. We play Arizona next Friday and I'm off Saturday, Sunday."
He added, "It must have been in the stars or something that we were aligned to be with him."
Maybe it was meant to be, but it also could not have happened without the generosity shown by Keen Parts.
"What Tom and T.J. Keen did was they donated those spaces on their car for charity because usually NASCAR, they have to go out and get a ton of sponsorships to help cover the cost of the car," Courtney Laughlin said. "So what Tom Keen did was he donated a lot of the space on the car so we're going to be on the car, our logo's on the car, which is awesome, and the car's pink which represents Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
"We pinch each other and say we've got our logo on a NASCAR," Craig said. "How cool is that?"
"The people's names on the car really intrigued me that, for $30, you get your name on a NASCAR and we'll obviously have many pictures of it," Craig said. "It's all going to be on the trunk and if we sell the trunk, then we'll actually, the day of the race, if we get more people come in, we will hand-write them in Sharpie."
In addition, there will also be several items up for auction to help raise money such as a VIP experience with pit passes for the race and Ellis' race-worn suit. You can find the auction here.
While it has only been a few weeks since the promotion was put together, Laughlin said the support has been overwhelming.
"This is unreal how we have this great support," Laughlin said. "It's out of this world. ... To me, it's just spectacular that they've come out to support these initiatives -- breast cancer and rare women's cancer -- so it's sort of like a tribute to women's cancers and how we can help fight it all together."