NASCAR fan Mark Leavill of Hicksville, Ohio received a nice surprise from Nextel Cup driver Jamie McMurray. Leavill was the lucky winner of the Home123 Corporation "Pay Off Your Mortgage" sweepstakes.
Home123, the Official Mortgage Company of NASCAR and a sponsor of the No. 42 Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray in 2005, teamed up with McMurray to drive down Leavell's mortgage as part of the sweepstakes, which began July 1, 2005, and ran through September 30, 2005. McMurray was on hand to personally award Mr. Leavell and his family the grand prize along with two tickets to the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"This is the first time I've ever been involved with a program where I get to deliver a family a home by possibly paying off their mortgage outright," said McMurray. "It was very rewarding for me as well."
Leavell, who was selected randomly from thousands of entries, was ecstatic to learn that Home123 was going to help pay his mortgage up to a maximum of $250,000. He and his wife had worried how they would pay the college expenses of their daughter, who will study nursing next fall at a local university. They consider the prize an answer to their prayers.
"My wife and I couldn't believe it at first -- we were truly shocked to find out we won," said Leavell. "To have our mortgage paid off is nothing short of a miracle. Without a mortgage payment, sending our daughter to college is much more of a reality."
The second and third place winners received $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, to be used towards their mortgages.
"As a relatively new sponsor of NASCAR, as well as the No. 42 Home123 Dodge, we wanted to find a way to help those in the NASCAR family," said Patrick J. Flanagan, Chief Executive Officer of Home123 Corporation. "We determined that the best way was to try and remove one of the biggest expenses a family incurs -- their home mortgage."
Home123 became the Official Mortgage Company of NASCAR earlier this season and also runs a primary sponsorship schedule on the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Dodge. In addition, Home123 supports Jamie McMurray's charitable cause, "Driving Autism Awareness," by matching $42 donations made by McMurray, Chevron Corporation and CGRFS for every lap Jamie leads in the 2005 season. In all, this program will generate $168 per lap to assist with autism research and public education, earmarked for the Autism Society of America.