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Auction, more to aid Pennies for Wessa

- dpoole@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

Right before the 2009 NASCAR season started my wife, Katy, and I went to Kentucky to pay another visit to Wessa Miller and her family.

Wessa is the girl who in 1998, when she was just 6, gave Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny the day before the Daytona 500. Earnhardt glued the penny inside his No. 3 Chevrolet and, on his 20th try, finally won NASCAR's biggest race.

I first wrote about Wessa and her parents, Booker and Juanita, in February 2008 on the 10th anniversary of Earnhardt's Daytona 500 victory.

After that story was published, a lot of people wanted to know what they could do to help the Millers. We eventually started Pennies for Wessa, and dozens of people have contributed and helped do a lot of good for the family.

We're going to get to see the Millers again at Bristol next month, too, because the NASCAR Foundation and the "NASCAR Angels" television show are bringing Wessa and her parents back to that track. The Millers came to Bristol in the spring of 1998 as Earnhardt's guests following his memorable win.

The NASCAR Foundation, through the Motor Racing Outreach benevolence fund, on Sunday will begin an online auction that will raise money for Pennies for Wessa, which helps the Millers deal with the costs that come with treating Wessa's spina bifida and related medical conditions.

The auction includes fire suits, race car sheet metal and autographed memorabilia from such drivers as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch, as well as a Washington Redskins helmet autographed by Joe Gibbs and several VIP experiences for future NASCAR events.

The auction will run through March 23, the Monday after the Bristol race. Bidding on some items in the auction, including a VIP experience for the Bristol race, will end as early as March 10, so if you’re interested get your bids in quickly.

"NASCAR Angels" will tape the Millers' visit for a "Heart of NASCAR" segment in a show that will air later this spring.

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