2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson will be honored during Speedway Children's Charities' 27th annual Gala on Wednesday, May 23, at the Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, N.C. The gala will be the official kick-off to Coca-Cola 600 Week race festivities at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet, will be recognized and honored for his work on behalf of the Speedway Children's Charities through his Jimmie Johnson Foundation, an organization Johnson founded last year with his wife, Chandra. The Johnsons dedicate
their foundation efforts to support children.

The SCC Gala, which benefits the Charlotte Chapter, represents one of the biggest area fundraising nights of the year. Since its inception, the Gala has raised millions of dollars to improve the quality of life for children with medical, social and educational needs in the 10-county Charlotte region.

Festivities begin at 7 p.m. with a cocktail reception presented by Cadillac. The reception will include the Keys for the Future program presented by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. Guests will have the chance to purchase keys to unlock a Schlage Residential Keypad Lock and win unique prizes such as a weekend getaway trip to the North Carolina mountains, tickets to Bruton Smith's suite at the Coca-Cola 600 and an Atlanta Braves VIP package.

The highlight of the evening will be a live auction featuring exclusive items for bid such as an Andy Warhol painting; jewelry from Diamonds Direct; a ride with Mario Andretti on Fantasy Day at the Mario Andretti / Jeff Gordon Racing School; a one-of-a-kind experience with Jimmie Johnson; a handbag from designer-to-the-stars Moo Roo and much more. Mike Solarte, Sports Director for News 14 Carolina will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Following the live auction, an after-party presented by UBS Financial Services featuring a live performance by the band Right On will take place in the caddyshack. For event information, including table sales and sponsorship opportunities, contact Amanda Hollingsworth at 704-532-3318, or email ahollingsworth@smicorporate.com.

In addition to the Gala, Speedway Children's Charities is producing several other events during Coca-Cola 600 Week. Fans can bid on the opportunity to ride with select NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers during pre-race parade laps at the Coca-Cola 600 by visiting www.bigshow.com.

Butch & Billy Products and Green Flag Racing will present the Butch & Billy's Charlotte Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament Monday through Thursday, May 21-24. Sponsored by the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse, the four-day tournament offers participants the opportunity to play poker with stars from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the Speedway Boulevard restaurant location in Concord. Call Scott Turner at 704-264-4298 for more information.

On Thursday the groundbreaking for the Friends of Speedway Children's Charities Victory Lane will take place in front of Lowe's Motor Speedway at the Avenue of Flags in front of Smith Tower. For more information, go to www.friendswall.com.

Founded in 1982 by Speedway Motorsports Incorporated Chairman Bruton Smith, Speedway Children's Charities provides funds to qualified, non-profit organizations that directly affect children in need of medical, educational or social services. Through donations, sponsorships and fundraising events, Speedway Children's Charities distributed more than $2.8 million to 470 organizations nationwide in 2006. For more information, please visit www.speedwaycharities.org.