Opportunity for race fans to support troops at no cost.

Race fans visiting Dover International Speedway Sept. 24 to 26 can help American troops keep in touch with their loved ones — simply by bringing to the track a gently used cell phone.

Cell Phones for Soldiers raises money through the collection of gently used mobile phones and will have drop-off boxes in the Team Chevy Racing Display at Dover International Speedway for this weekend’s NASCAR races. The display will be located in the Fan Zone at DIS, and will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday
“I want to urge race fans as they come out to each of the events throughout the year to bring whatever old cell phones they may have laying around — and we all know that we’ve got several stored away in shelves and drawers at our homes and bring them out to the race track and donate them to the program,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevy’s spokesman for Cell Phones for Soldiers. “Everybody who comes out to the race track can participate.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit organization started in 2004 by 12- and 13-year-old siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist with just $21 of their own money, raises funds through the collection of gently used mobile phones, which are then refurbished or recycled. Each year, more than 130 million cell phones are decommissioned in the United States alone.

In addition to helping troops call home, the first 100 fans donating gently used phones will receive a hat, courtesy of the GM Military Discount program. Over the last six years, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 1 million pre-paid calling cards and 60 million minutes of calling time to soldiers overseas.

Since Cell Phones for Soldiers was unveiled at Richmond International Raceway in May, the program has received more than 7,500 gently used cell phones.

“We are very grateful for the extremely generous response from race fans this year,” said Terry Dolan, Manager, Chevy Racing. “Each donated phone helps, and means more minutes on pre-paid calling cards for members of the military, allowing them to keep in touch with loved ones back home. We hope to continue this success at Cell Phones for Soldiers’ remaining stops this season, at Dover this weekend, and at Kansas and Fontana in October.”

Fans not attending the races this weekend can visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com for more information on how to donate at one of the more than 3,000 collection points nationwide or to download a pre-paid, pre-addressed mailing label.

Once collected, the phones are processed by ReCellular, the world’s largest recycler of used mobile devices, and the phones are either refurbished and sold, or recycled under strict EPA guidelines. Cell Phones for Soldiers then utilizes the money from reselling the devices to purchase pre-paid calling cards to benefit the more than 200,000 troops stationed at military bases around the world.