The Drive fundraiser started in 2014 when NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson joined forces to use their fame and connections to raise money, especially for kids. The Drive is held every year at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. The two-day fundraiser includes golf, food, live entertainment, and more. The already sold-out event will be June 27-28. To date, the event has raised more than $660,000, benefitting Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Strong Against Cancer foundation, as well as the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation, and the Kasey Kahne Foundation. This year’s proceeds will go to Seattle Children’s Hospital Strong Against Cancer Initiative. Safeway is the presenting sponsor of the event, and customers can make donations this summer at cash registers. 425 is a media sponsor. We had a chance to catch up with Wilson and Kahne about The Drive and more.
425: This year will be the third-annual The Drive event. What makes this event so special that you make it a priority in your schedule every year?
Wilson: The Drive is an important event to bring the community together to raise awareness and donations for the Strong Against Cancer initiative for Seattle Childrenís Hospital. It is a fun event filled with good music, great golf, and a meaningful mission.
Kahne: The Drive is such a cool event, and it has grown so much in just the first two years. I love that area of Washington and everyone that comes out to support it and make it such a great event. We were able to add Safeway this year as a title sponsor, and we have Farmers Insurance and Great Clips returning as major partners.
425: Football and NASCAR are two of the country’s most-watched sports. How did you connect with Kasey to launch this event?
Wilson: I met Kasey through some mutual friends. Turns out he is a huge Seahawks fan. And (I grew) up in Richmond, Virginia, (where) everybody knows NASCAR, so it was a no-brainer when his team asked us to partner with their event.
425: When you’re not racing cars, what’s your favorite course to practice your swing?
Kahne: I usually play in a few tournaments a year throughout the country for different sponsors. There is a driving range not far from Kasey Kahne Racing in North Carolina that I will go and hit some balls at when I have time.
425: What made you decide to benefit children with cancer through your foundation, and not one of the number of other chronic illnesses that affect people every day?
Kahne: Russell was already involved in the Strong Against Cancer program with Seattle Children’s Hospital, and I had a chance to visit (the hospital) last year before the tournament and see what they are doing for pediatric cancer. What they are doing there for those kids is amazing. To be able to cure children with leukemia is incredible, and just to be able to contribute to a small part of that is important to The Drive and the Kasey Kahne Foundation.
425: What is a personal habit of yours that has contributed to your success?
Kahne: I am very thorough and hands-on. I like to put a lot into everything I do, from racing, to running KKR, to working out.
Wilson: My father always instilled in me the value of consistency, working over and over on the minutest details until they were absolutely perfect. He would keep me out late making sure my footwork and timing was impeccable, but at the same time always find ways to make it fun for me.
425: You continue to devote time and attention to patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Your Why Not You Foundation recently donated toys in partnership with Amazon, Amazon Kindle devices, and gift cards to patients there. Why is it important to you to stay involved with the community and give back with your time, and not simply write a check?
Wilson: It is important to show up and be present. I love spending time with kids at Seattle Children’s, at my football camps, and throughout the community. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this great area (and) give of my time and energy, which I look forward to doing for many years.
425: Do you have any predictions for the upcoming football season?
Wilson: Hopefully another Lombardi Trophy for the great city of Seattle!