NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer has donated and raised thousands of dollars for good causes in his Kansas hometown in recent years, and now Emporia has shown its gratitude.


NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer has donated and raised thousands of dollars for good causes in his Kansas hometown in recent years, and now Emporia has shown its gratitude.

Bowyer’s racing career began on a practice track at Flint Hills Towing on Emporia’s Graham Street. He was on hand Wednesday as the city unveiled a sign adding the honorary label “Clint Bowyer Boulevard” to Graham Street.

“It’s very gratifying, very humbling to think back where this was where it all started, and to see your name on top of Graham Street,” Bowyer said. “It’s such an important street to me and my family, it means a lot to me.”

Two years ago, Bowyer established the 79 Fund with the Emporia Community Foundation to aid the city and people in need. The fund has helped a city clean-up project and the city Arts Council’s building fund, and this month provided 20 Christmas trees to Emporia families and shoes for 85 children enrolled in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“I love this town,” Bowyer said. “There’s no better people than right here in Emporia.

"We’re taking baby steps and looking at getting more money raised to put into the programs, and I’m looking forward to making (the fund) a bigger and better thing for the children and making the community a better place,” he said.

Although Bowyer is famed as a driver, he has looked to another sport — golf — to help build the 79 Fund. A charity golf event and auction he hosted in 2008 brought in about $160,000; this year, the event raised $250,000.

Bowyer and the 79 Fund’s board of directors are looking to the future and planning to make sure the fund can help as many people as possible.

“We’re looking forward to building on what I consider a good first two years,” Bowyer said. “That’s the thing, you want to be able to give back and you want to make sure it goes to a good cause that people are getting a lot of good things out of.”