When a company sponsors a NASCAR race car these days, it’s a big deal. When a sponsor is willing to give up half of the space that they’ve purchased to bring awareness for a greater cause, it’s an even bigger deal.
Next weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway, Ryan Ellis will have Rich Mar Florist on the hood of his No. 43 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
However, on the rear quarter panels of the car, Rich Mar has opted to support the Laughlin Family Foundation by placing the charity in a prominent spot on the race car. The Laughlin Family Foundation raises money to help those affected by rare cancer through education, awareness, and research.
For Rich Mar Florist, the cause of Cancer hits close to home.
“This really is a dream team of partners, my family, as many families have suffered losses to Cancer,” said Jonathan Morrisey, owner of Rich Mar Florist, in a press release. “If we can help one or more families to a better life, then we have done a great job. A big thanks to Craig and his family for their support and friendship. Let’s get after it, Ellis!”
The foundation was started by Craig Laughlin, a former NHL player and current NBC Sports Washington analyst, following his wife Linda being diagnosed with a rare gynecological cancer in 2018. The foundation has raised more than $500,000 to date, and will look to raise more through this partnership with Ellis, Rich Mar, and Alpha Prime Racing.
2023 is the third-consecutive season that Ellis has carried The Laughlin Family Foundation on his car, as longtime partner Keen Parts actually was the first company to donate space on Ellis’ car to the foundation.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Ryan Ellis and his team for the 3rd year in a row to help support and raise awareness for rare gynecologic cancers,” said Craig Laughlin of The Laughlin Family Foundation. “We are excited about this partnership and to have a chance to work with like-minded people, like Ryan and Jonathan of Rich Mar Florist, who share our mission and believe that every cancer deserves a voice… and a cure.”
For the 33-year-old Ellis, it’s just special to be involved in a partnership such as this one.
“It’s always really exciting being able to take part in something like this,” said Ellis, driver of the No.43 Rich Mar Florist Chevy. “We get to do so many cool things while being involved in NASCAR, but when you’re able to be a small part of something much bigger than the sport, whether it is bringing awareness or helping raise funds for a cause like the Laughlin Family Foundation’s, it is really special. I’m really proud that we’re able to be part of this and thankful for Jon’s efforts in making this happen. Because of partners like Jon Morrissey and Tom and TJ Keen as well, we’re able to make a positive difference in this world. I hope that people support Rich Mar Florist so that we’re able to do more amazing things like this.”
While the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season hasn’t gone completely to script for Ellis or the Alpha Prime Racing organization as a whole, the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro has quietly done a great job of staying out of trouble.
Through 15 starts this season, Ellis only has two DNFs, and he did score a career-best 11th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring. If the team could catch a little bit of good luck, who knows, Ellis could better that finish down the stretch in 2023.