Tom and TJ Keen of Keen Parts (CorvetteParts.net) are proud to announce that they will run a special Autism Awareness paint scheme in this week‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway with driver Ryan Ellis and Alpha Prime Racing.
The scheme was thought of by the family of former NHL Player and Stanley Cup Champion Chris Thorburn and his wife Sara. Their three children, Bennett, Mary, and Oscar created the hand-drawn colorful scheme aimed at raising autism awareness.
Bennett, an avid-NASCAR fan, was diagnosed with autism at the age of four and learned number recognition and counting through race cars. Since then, the Thorburn family has been attending races in Michigan for several years. Mary and Oscar, as always, were by Bennett‘s side, assisting him with the scheme – writing, “Autism Lives Matter, Be a Friend”, powerful words that will be represented on the lower quarter panel and bumper of the No. 44 Keen Parts Chevy.
“We want to sincerely thank Tom and TJ Keen of Keen Parts, Alpha Prime Racing and NASCAR Driver and friend, Ryan Ellis for this amazing opportunity. NASCAR has been a big part of our family‘s life ever since we realized that Bennett was using the Mattel diecast cars to recognize, learn and count numbers. We were very fortunate years ago to get introduced to the NASCAR family and have been huge fans ever since. The people throughout the sport are so caring, understanding and willing to help no matter the cause. It truly has a family feel to it. We visited MIS 4 years ago and, with the help of Chris Biby, we were introduced to Ryan Ellis. This guy is the epitome of what we feel NASCAR is. Not only is he a great driver but he is so caring, loving and giving. We can not that him enough for the opportunity he and team afforded our family, not only was it a fun family project but the kids will see the car that they designed run the race and hopefully bring some smiles to the families that can relate to our situation but also raise awareness for the Autism community,” said Sara and Chris Thorburn.
CorvetteParts.net, a business owned by Tom and TJ Keen, sells parts and accessories for Corvette owners of all generations. They have used their sponsorship for many charitable causes and have been loyal NASCAR sponsors for over 10 years. The Keen‘s graciously elected to donate much of their sponsorship space to raise awareness and support great causes.
“I‘m so proud to be running this scheme and so thankful that Tom and TJ Keen made this a reality for the Thorburn family. They have so much with their sponsorships to do far more than promote their company. They‘ve truly used it as a platform to help other people and put smiles on people‘s faces. I met the Thorburn‘s a few years back at Michigan International Speedway while I was working for Go Fas Racing, ironically on a Keen-sponsored race weekend. The Thorburn‘s could not be nicer people – you meet them and immediately feel like you‘ve known them for years and we feel so lucky to just be able to do something for Bennett and their family and hope that this brings some awareness to autism. My wife [Allison] works in the mental health space and this does mean a ton to our family as well,” said Ellis, driver of the No. 44 Keen Parts Chevy.