Greg and Nicole Biffle have more than racing in common as a NASCAR couple. They are also passionate about pets, especially pets in crisis or those in danger of being euthanized because of abuse or neglect.
“I don’t think the general public really understands what a crisis our country is in with animal overpopulation and euthanization,” Nicole Biffle said. “When you give people the numbers they look at you like you’re crazy because they don’t get how bad it really is.”
Because of their passion to save pets, particularly those that are no longer wanted, the Biffles are raising funds to assist these animals in need, as well as those humans who are helping them. This race weekend at Bristol, both Greg and Nicole Biffle will be releasing their 2011 NASCAR Pets Calendar, with all of the proceeds going to the Greg Biffle Foundation to improve the well-being of animals.
“We’ve done the calendar since 2005,” Nicole Biffle said. “It was kind of an idea I had just watching the news and seeing how many things were going on with pets in this area. “
Biffle pitched the calendar idea to her husband, with her initial vision being to have rough copies to sell amongst their fellow racing families to hang in their haulers or motor homes.
“We got lucky enough with the NASCAR Foundation,” Biffle said. “They hooked us up and we started producing these calendars.”
The Pets Calendar traditionally focuses on NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and their families, including their animals.
“We tried to do it in casual settings, like at their houses or in their motor homes, like a family portrait,” Biffle said. “The fans can see what their life is like outside the race track with their kids and their pets.”
For the upcoming year, the 2011 NASCAR Pets Calendar will feature 11 Sprint Cup drivers with their pets, as well as featuring the three Miss Sprint Cups and their favorite animals.
“A couple years ago, we added media,” Biffle said. “This year we did the three Sprint Cup ladies and their pets. I’m hoping that will boost sales. You know, I think all the guys think those Sprint Cup ladies are pretty cute. If it sells well, maybe we’ll have to do a Sprint Cup girls and pets calendar all on their own.”
Biffle also credits 3M, her husband’s primary sponsor, for helping to take the calendar to the next level.
“Last year was the first year that 3M helped us do the whole thing,” Biffle said. “We’re really lucky to have a sponsor that cares about what we’re doing. It means a lot to us.”
Biffle is also very proud that over 97% of the calendar proceeds go to the Foundation and right out to the community. The Biffles have just one employee at the Foundation, paying her out of their own pocket so that the money can be used for pets in need.
The Foundation makes grants on an annual basis, supporting nonprofits such as no kill shelters or spay and neuter clinics. They have granted help throughout the country, from Washington State to New York City. The Biffles also sit on the national advisory board of the North Shore Animal League, as well as organizing puppy roundups to send to the League for adoption.
“Primarily we stick with dogs and cats just because there is such an overwhelming need in our country,” Biffle said. “We go through the applications and see who is in greatest need.”
Biffle’s passion for animals in need stems from her own personal experience, having adopted a dog, Foster, now a nine year old boxer. The Biffles also have two other dogs, Gracie who is another boxer and Savannah who is a mix of “what, we don’t know.”
“We just fell in love,” Biffle said. “Our dogs are our kids. They mean everything to us.”
“That’s why we decided to go the pet avenue,” Biffle said. “It just breaks your heart. I get requests every day about animals that are going to be put to sleep. It’s just kind of makes you sick and breaks our hearts.”
While the Biffles work to help animals, they also focus on spending as much time with their own pets as possible, including taking them to as many races as possible. In fact, the dogs were all at Pocono where Greg Biffle won, so the driver of the No. 16 3M Roush Fenway Racing Ford has decided that they are perhaps his newest good luck charms.
In addition to the pet calendar fundraising, the Biffles are adding another new twist, a raffle for Greg Biffle’s custom golf cart. This will be unveiled at Bristol this weekend and will be part of the Food City Race Night festivities.
“A friend of Greg’s owns a hot rod shop in Tucson and he sent Greg this incredible golf cart, custom painted with flames,” Biffle said. “I’m thinking that should be pretty good because it’s a really neat golf cart to toot around in. It’s pretty cool.”
The calendar, priced at $13.99 can be purchased at www.gregbifflefoundation.com or at the Bristol race, where Biffle will be autographing copies. The calendars are also available in some Pet Co stores, particularly in the southeast. Raffle tickets for Biffle’s golf cart can be purchased at www.winbifflesgolfcart.com.
For the Biffles, all of this is simply about the animals. And it truly is a labor of love.
“We’re thankful that we are able to do something to help,” Nicole Biffle said.