Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen last week auctioned off a 1969 Camaro to benefit his charity, and the buyer was another big name in Charlotte sports.
NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, who heads the Hendrick Auto Group and Hendrick Motorsports, bought the antique car for $100,000. All the sale’s proceeds, including the auction fee, benefit the HEARTest Yard, a nonprofit supporting programs at the Levine Children’s Hospital.
Hendrick, a “big Camaro fan,” bought the convertible to be a part of his car collection, which is based in Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports said Monday.
The refurbished vehicle was recently donated anonymously to the tight end for the purpose of being auctioned off. Olsen was present at the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction Northeast in Connecticut last week.
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The HEARTest Yard Fund operates under the umbrella of Receptions for Research, which Olsen established in 2009. Its fundraisers have included golf tournaments, a yoga night at Old Mecklenburg Brewery and most recently, its inaugural 5K run in May.
The Olsen family set up the HEARTest Yard fund in 2012 when their son T.J. was born with a heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The initiative supports families with children born with HLHS and treated at Levine like T.J. was. It provides about $25,000 to $30,000 in in-home nursing care and speech therapy, among other services.
“I first met Greg at an event for Levine Children’s Hospital, and I’ve been able to spend time with him since then. He and (wife) Kara are great people and do so much to give back to the community and help kids. How can you not be touched by their story?” Hendrick said in a statement provided to the Observer.
Hendrick has long been involved in charitable work with local organizations like Levine. Hendrick Motorsports, which Hendrick founded in 1984, employs more than 600 people to support four full-time Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.