Terry Cook "Racing For Independence" with Paws With A Cause

Terry Cook is looking to reach more than just Victory Lane in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Off the track the nine-year series veteran is looking to reach NASCAR fans to promote and assist a worthy cause.

Cook along with his sponsor, Ford Power Stroke® Diesel by International®, have teamed up this year with Paws With A Cause® (www.pawswithacause.org), a not-for-profit organization that trains Assistance Dogs for individuals with mobility and hearing disabilities. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for PAWS®, through a program called, "Racing For Independence."

The "Racing For Independence" program assists PAWS and generates excitement from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series through the use of a two-seat simulator. Race fans can experience what it is like to sit inside an exact replica version of the No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race truck Cook will drive at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Race fans can see first-hand how a PAWS Assistance Dog provides independence to its client. A PAWS training representative accompanies the racing program along with a Demonstration Dog to answer questions and collects any donations generously provided.

The racing simulator will make appearances across the country as it follows the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in each race market. You can catch the racing simulator at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 25th when the gates open at 10 a.m. PST. Terry Cook will make an appearance at the NASCAR Street Party in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, September 24th beginning at 7 p.m. to sign autographs and race against fans in the simulator.

So what does Terry Cook think about this worthy program?

"It¿s neat to be a part of something you truly believe in," said Cook, a five-time winner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "To see the people¿s faces light up every time they see a Paws With A Cause Assistance Dog and the trainer or the client at the display, puts a smile on my face. They come over to see the racing simulator and they¿re surprised by what else they get to see. Everybody who gets into the "Racing for Independence" program gets enthused about it and reaches into their pockets to give a great donation. The fans thank me for being a part of this, while I¿m just proud to be a part of something that brings a smile to everyone¿s face."

The Sylvania, Ohio native is a perfect mesh with the "Racing for Independence" program. Not only is Cook a Ford Power Stroke Diesel owner, but he and wife, Amy East, own twin beagles, Abby and Toby.

"My wife and I are dog lovers," said Cook. "What a joy Abby and Toby are to have as part of the family. I¿ve been a dog lover all my life and see a true joy in owning a dog. They are near and dear to my heart.

"Paws With A Cause gives people with disabilities the independence they need to live their daily lives. I have met several PAWS clients and trainers this year through the program and the gratitude they have for Paws With A Cause and the program we¿ve put together this year is tremendous. More and more race fans are recognizing Paws With A Cause and are making donations at the simulator appearances knowing how much its costs to train and place an Assistance Dog. You don¿t see too many drivers get involved with a program like this. I¿m very excited to be the first ever to represent a great program like Paws With A Cause."

PAWS encourages independence for individuals with a broad range of disabilities as it enters its 25th year of assisting people with disabilities. To breed/rescue, raise, train and place each Assistance Dog costs more than $18,000, with no local, state or federal funding available. PAWS relies on generous donors as the lifeblood of the organization. There is an endowment fund established for clients who need to retire their dogs and maintain the same quality of life with another Paws With A Cause Assistance Dog.

"Paws With A Cause recognizes the drawing power of NASCAR," said Michael Sapp, co-founder and COO at Paws With A Cause. "To be part of a great program like this with International and Power Stroke Diesel is something that we¿re really truly enjoying. This is an opportunity to increase the awareness of our mission that a not-for-profit group like us would never have the manpower or funding to be able to execute on our own. We are truly grateful to have Terry Cook and International Truck and Engines Corporation support our efforts."

PAWS was a seamless fit for International Truck and Engines Corporation with its Power Stroke Diesel racing program. A recent survey found more than 75 percent of Power Stroke Diesel owners have an emotional tie or ownership with a dog. With more than two million Power Stroke Diesel engines produced since 1994 and 98.9 percent still on the road today, the Melrose Park, Ill.-based organization wanted to give back to the community not just locally but nationwide.

"International and Ford Power Stroke Diesel were looking to expand our reach of our motorsports program to help bring attention to a worthy cause that connects with the loyal owner base and race fans across the country," said Bob Carso, Director of Communications and Market Strategy at International Truck and Engine Corp. "A high percentage of Ford Power Stroke Diesel owners are also dog owners. To see how these dogs help people with disabilities lead independent lives is awe inspiring. We felt it would be a privilege to help raise awareness for their outstanding work."

"I believe the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is an awesome place to be," said Cook. "To be teamed with the world-class leader in diesel engines, International Truck and Engine Corporation and with the Power Stroke Diesel brand -- I¿m proud to be a part of that. To top it off with being affiliated with Paws With A Cause is just icing on the cake."