The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday night were full of surprises.
When Eddie Vedder met racecar driver Tony Stewart earlier this year, he told him about the EB Research Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to curing the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa. Stewart made a sizable donation on the spot, and the two became fast friends. So it was a nice surprise when Vedder, who Stewart thought was on vacation and couldn’t come to the NASCAR Awards ceremony, emerged onstage to introduce his new friend, who was honored at the event.
But that wasn’t the end of the surprises. As USA Today reports, champion team owner Rick Hendrick took the stage to announce that the racing industry had raised a staggering $1.8 million to donate to the EB Research Partnership in Stewart’s name. “Are we on TV?” Vedder said as he hugged Stewart. “That’s un-fucking-believable.” After the audio temporarily dropped out to censor the expletive, he added, “I’ll pay that fine.”
“I’m totally blown away and caught off guard,” Stewart said. “I really don’t know what to say, to be honest. I’m really honored Eddie Vedder would come here for this, and I’m so excited the racing community raised that kind of money to help that charity. When you meet people like him who are that passionate about something, it immediately makes you want to be passionate about it as well. That’s why we got involved.”