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Richard Petty heads lineup of NASCAR greats at Stocks for Tots benefit

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series legend Richard Petty stops and talks with fans in the garage area at Daytona International Speedway in February 2016.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series legend Richard Petty stops and talks with fans in the garage area at Daytona International Speedway in February 2016. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty heads the lineup of past and present NASCAR greats who plan to sign autographs at the 28th annual Stocks for Tots benefit in Mooresville Tuesday.

The event will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at NASCAR Technical Institute in Talbert Pointe Business Park, off Interstate 77 exit 36.

The Mooresville-based North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame created Stocks for Tots in 1989 to bring together stock-car racing and its fans, and help Iredell County-based Stop Child Abuse Now raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. The event has raised more than $1 million and collected more than 60,000 toys over the years.

NASCAR stars Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Rex White and Dale Inman also will greet fans, along with current drivers David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Joe and John Hunter Nemechek, Kerry Earnhardt, Brandon McReynolds, Mike Bliss and Jared Irvan.

Other NASCAR luminaries planning to attend include former Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter Humpy Wheeler; Jeff Gordon’s championship crew chief Ray Evernham, former Cup crew chief Barry Dodson and Donnie Allison, Don Miller, Neil “Soapy” Castles, “Tiger” Tom Pistone, Bobby Dotter and Jerry Nadeau.

Road racer Elliott Forbes Robinson also plans to sign autographs, as does Verizon Indy Car star Will Power and rising stars Justin Alligaier and Austin Cindric.

NHRA and IHRA drag racers Doug Herbert, Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Buddy Martin plan to sign autographs, along with TV broadcasters Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds, former Charlotte Observer motorsports writer Tom Higgins, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s mascot, “Lug Nut,” and Santa Claus.

Stocks for Tots requires wristbands to enter the event, obtain autographs and/or attend the silent auction and gift shop.

Wristbands will be for sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, 119 Knob Hill Road in Lakeside Business Park at I-77 exit 36, and at NASCAR Technical Institute at 4:30 p.m..

This year, a $100 wristband is being offered for fans who want to be among the first 25 people in line for the autographs. This is an early sale wristband where you can call the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame to purchase and pick up the wristband at the museum on Tuesday.

Access to the event’s autograph lines requires a cash donation of $10 and a new unwrapped toy with a $10 value, or a $20 donation. A “shop only” wristband that allows entry to the event to shop at the booths and gift shop and participate in the silent auction is available for $10 at NASCAR Technical Institute.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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