Charitable causes near to Stewart’s heart this week

Tony Stewart has always had a soft spot for children and animals, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

This weekend, he gets to pay homage to both.

Today, Stewart will compete in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover, and he’ll do so while driving the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS.

Code 3 Associates is a nonprofit organization that specializes in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas. The group has been a partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2012.

As luck would have it, Stewart had the Code 3 logo on his car for his last NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, which came three years ago at this same track.

Though Dover is dubbed “The Monster Mile,” the track has been kind to Stewart over the years. In 33 career starts there, he has 11 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s, leading for 1,075 laps along the way.

“That racetrack can be your best friend or the track itself can be your worst enemy,” Stewart said. “When it’s going well and your car is driving well, it’s a blast. If your car isn’t right, even off a little bit, it’s a miserably long day there. That’s why it’s gratifying.”

For Stewart, the causes this weekend represents are equally gratifying, as evidenced by the $35,000 that he and the Sprint Cup driver council donated to Autism Delaware last month.

“I’m a softie for both,” Stewart said of his charity’s work with at-risk animals and sick children.

Tony's final lap

TODAY’S RACE

AAA 400 Drive for Autism, 1 p.m. (FS1)

Starting position: 34th

LAST WEEK

Finished 12th in GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas

CHASE FOR THE CUP

Last week: 30 points

Season total: 87 points (37th)

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.