For someone about to risk his life by stepping into a car and racing around an oval at 300 kilometres per hour, you’d think John Graham would have more on his mind than the logo on his racing suit.
 
But when the Toronto businessman and professional driver agreed to take the wheel for two NASCAR races this fall, he only had one demand: that his driver's suit be emblazoned with the Canadian Red Cross logo.
 
John wanted to use the space, normally reserved for corporate sponsors, to recognize the Red Cross because of his growing partnership with the society in Saskatchewan over the last two years. 
 
"It was a no-brainer. As the official charity of choice for two NHL preseason games and an international soccer match, the Red Cross has been a fantastic business partner," said John. 
 
John is also the owner of On Ice Management, and brought NHL preseason games to Saskatoon - and the Red Cross got to be part of it. Games included the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators in 2016, and the Edmonton Oilers versus the Carolina Hurricanes in 2017. 
 
"The success of the first NHL preseason game in 2016 led to another amazing opportunity to be the charity of choice for an international friendly between Valencia C.F. and the New York Cosmos this summer in Regina," explained Luc Mullinder, who managed the events for the Red Cross in Saskatchewan.
 
The Red Cross received the proceeds from the 50/50 draws and sales of the official programs, totalling nearly $75,000 in those three events.
 
There are other benefits to the partnership, too. When the Oilers played the Hurricanes this September, the Vice-President for the Red Cross in Saskatchewan got to drop the puck.
 


"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we wouldn’t have these kind of opportunities if it wasn't for the amazing partnership we have with John," said Red Cross Vice-President Cindy Fuchs.
 
Racing is in Graham's blood. His resume includes the Paris to Dakar rally, the NASCAR Nationwide series and podium finishes that include the 24 Hours of Daytona. He also drove for the very first all-Canadian team to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000 – which is often called the "Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency.”
 
Graham will be heading back to Le Mans in June 2018, but not before racing in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Europe.
 
You can cheer on Graham in his next NASCAR battle during the Ticket Galaxy 200, NASCAR XFINITY Series Semi-Final Playoff Race on Saturday, November 11, televised on NBC. He shouldn’t be hard to miss.