United Way of Central Carolinas presented racing legend Don Miller with its Leading The Way Award Tuesday night at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.


Created by United Way’s Mooresville/Lake Norman office, the event had more than 150 attendees including fellow racing icons Bobby and Donnie Allison, Greg Anderson, Max Crawford, Ray Evernham, Doug Herbert, Dale Inman, Jason Line, Larry McReynolds and Ryan Newman. Hall of Fame inductee Richard Petty conveyed his congratulations to Miller through a statement.


The Leading The Way Award was established by United Way in 2016 to recognize community champions who go above and beyond to support those in need, leveraging their stature to encourage others to give back and get involved. The inaugural award recipient was long-time NFL wide receiver Steve Smith for his work to prevent domestic violence and advocate for family health and wellness.


At last night’s event, museum historians Larry Abruzzesa, Bob Hissom and Joe Saleem entertained the audience with automotive anecdotes, then John Dodson of the NASCAR Technical Institute presented the Leading The Way Award to Miller.


“This honor means everything to me,” said Miller. “It’s recognition for all the people that work here at the museum and it is recognition for the United Way and all they do for the community. I’m very proud to have received this award and I’m very, very proud of my association with the United Way.”


A 2016 NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee as well as its chairman, Miller is well-known in Mooresville and in automotive circles for his philanthropic leadership. He has long supported SCAN Iredell, a United Way partner agency, and earned the inaugural NASCAR Humanitarian Award for his Stocks-for-Tots holiday fundraiser to fight child abuse, which has raised more than $1 million for children’s charities.


“Don is a role model to many in the racing industry, so foremost we applaud his work,” said Keri Taylor, United Way’s Mooresville/Lake Norman community director. “Our Leading The Way Award is designed to shine a spotlight on what’s possible when you’re driven to give back, and we hope Don’s commitment inspires others to follow in his footsteps.”


The evening was made possible by event sponsors EY, Homesley & Wingo, Irvin Law, Shelco, SMS Catering Services and Team Penske.


A mentor to NASCAR champions, co-founder of Penske Racing South, and a racing legend in his own right, Miller helped establish the NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame. His pioneering work in safety innovation and his engineering creativity revolutionized the racing industry; today, he continues to raise the bar for giving back to those in need. Beyond SCAN Iredell, he works diligently with the NASCAR Foundation and the Foundation for the Blind, while all proceeds from his autobiography go to children’s charities.