Two Michigan natives honored as part of 600 Miles of RemembranceShare
Continuing the sport’s long-standing tradition of honoring the United States Armed Forces, all 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will bear the name of a fallen service member on their race car windshields during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced today.
For the second consecutive year, “600 Miles of Remembrance” will pay tribute this Memorial Day Weekend to those who bravely served and died defending our country, including two from Michigan. Windshield headers normally reserved for drivers’ last names will read “SGT HARVEY,” “LCPL RAMIREZ,” and “SPC BEAUDOIN,” among other names of the fallen.
The special tribute will commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute™, the industry’s collective expression of respect and gratitude for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. Fans can follow the conversation on social media using #NASCARSalutes.
“Each of the names proudly displayed on these race cars tells a story of honor and sacrifice,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “As the NASCAR industry reflects on Memorial Day Weekend, we’re proud to honor these and all fallen service members in a way that helps ensure their stories and lives are never forgotten.”
Landon Cassill’s No. 38 team will pay tribute to a fallen soldier with a Front Row Motorsports family connection for the Memorial Day weekend Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cassill’s MDS Transport Ford Fusion will carry the windshield name decal of Pvt. Earl Platt, a World World I Army infantryman who fought in two of the Great War’s biggest battles before dying from the effects of mustard gas poisoning.
Pvt. Platt was the great uncle of Gwen Bartley, the wife of Front Row Motorsports suspension mechanic and U.S. Air Force veteran Kurt Bartley.
Pvt. Platt, from Vestaburg, Michigan, served in the Army from 1918 to 1919. He fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which was the largest offensive in U.S. military history.
Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 team will feature the name of Army Spc. Joseph T Prentler from Fenwick, Michigan. Spc. Prentler was assigned to the third Squadron, second Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Viseck, Germany. He died during Operation Enduring Freedom when insurgents attacked his military vehicle using an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on the race cars were chosen by the teams, and some have unique connections to the fallen. Navy SEAL Denis Miranda, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010, trained in BUD/S alongside Graham Molatch, jackman for the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team. Miranda’s name will appear on Kyle Larson’s car during the Coca-Cola 600.
Lance Corporal Scott Lynch served in the United States Marine Corps with Mark Singleton, tire changer for Chip Ganassi Racing, and will be honored on Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 car. Furniture Row Racing employee John Parks served in the Marines with Jeffrey Bohr, Jr., a gunnery sergeant who was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and whose name will be carried on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 car.
Toyota will also honor the names of fallen service members on its pace cars and grand marshal cars for the Coca-Cola 600 as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance.
Many of the families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track will host more than 6,000 active military members at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day.
Throughout the week, NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various activities demonstrating the industry’s support for the military, including:
- During Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300, NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will display red, white and blue XFINITY windshield decals on their race cars.
- Goodyear will replace the “Eagle” sidewall design with “Support Our Troops” messaging on all tires used during the Memorial Day Weekend races.
- NASCAR, Coca-Cola and Mars, through the annual military support program, DeCA, will offer a sweepstakes to shoppers at more than 180 commissaries who will have a chance to win a trip for two to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. The kickoff event will take place at Fort Bragg on May 25 and feature No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin. The 2016 DAYTONA 500 winner will tour the Warrior Transition Battalion Unit and visit with families at the South Commissary.
- In partnership with Operation Gratitude, Mars will invite race fans to help assemble care packages for the troops in the midway at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The care packages will include Mars candy and be shipped following the Coca-Cola 600 to deployed military members.
- NASCAR and Honor and Remember, Inc. will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who lost their life in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
During the Coca Cola 600 pre-race broadcast (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX), FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll.
To view an online gallery of the service members honored as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance, visit www.NASCAR.com/salute.
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