Monster Energy Cup Series News (16858)
NASCAR Champ Jimmie Johnson Opens Up About Racing in Charlotte, Car Fights & More with Sammy Hagar on 'Rock & Roll Road Trip' June 922 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, races down to North Carolina to spend the day at the iconic Charlotte Motor Speedway in an all-new episode of Rock & Roll Road Trip—airing Sunday, June 9 at 8pE. While there, he checks out team owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick’s epic collection of cars and guitars, takes the speedway stage by storm, and sits down with seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to discuss the racecar rockstar’s incredible career. Filmed at Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson plays a speed round of “This Or That,” opens up about the pressure of performing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, talks getting into car fights with other drivers, and more.
Though he’s been competing on the NASCAR circuit for almost two decades, amassing seven NASCAR Cup Series championships in the process—putting him alongside Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty—the two-time Daytona 500 winner reveals that he can still feel a bit of fear when he’s competing. “Everything’s pretty good until it’s not,” Johnson says. “As soon as you slip a tire, that’s when you panic. Hopefully, you have enough distance in time to catch it. If not, a lot of times you just pull your arms in. You know you’re gonna hit something hard.”
A native of El Cajon, California, Johnson now calls Charlotte home. On the pressure to be great in front of his friends, family and employees, Johnson says, “No doubt it is tough. Where we’re sitting here… we’re a mile from the track. We have 650-some employees that work around here, and they will all be at the track… So, it is a lot of pressure.”
Racing at high speeds and in high temperatures, with each driver constantly jockeying for position, it’s not uncommon for rivalries to quickly develop on and off the track. Johnson sheds some light on the more human side of the sport saying, “I think we all have the potential to be the crazy guy on the track, so you usually end up in a rift with someone at different periods of time. And then it’s just like a magnet for weeks and weeks, where you keep having troubles with each other.” While physical altercations are rare, these feuds can result in what Johnson calls “car fights.” “In the car, we’re all way braver and use each other up,” Johnson explains. “My crew jokes all the time that we’re not brave enough to get out and have a real fight, but we’ll have a car fight and create all this work for them. So, there’s plenty of car fights that go on, but very few punches delivered.”
Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar airs every Sunday at 8pE/5pP—only on AXS TV.
1091 Acquires NASCAR Documentary "Blink of and Eye" Featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip22 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
1091 announced today the acquisition of “BLINK OF AN EYE,” a NASCAR documentary produced and directed by multi Emmy-winning filmmaker Paul Taublieb, with Mitch Covington, Susan Cooper and Pam Miller also serving as producers. It will premiere with a private screening on Friday, May 24, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Theater in Charlotte, NC in front of an audience of NASCAR stars and motorsports industry insiders, just prior to the Coca-Cola 600 held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. “BLINK OF AN EYE” will be released nationally theatrically and On Demand this fall.
Based on the New York Times bestselling book, "BLINK OF AN EYE," focuses on Michael Waltrip and his star-crossed friendship with the iconic driver, Dale Earnhardt Sr. Over 462 races, Waltrip failed to notch a single win, the longest losing streak in NASCAR, and maybe in all professional sports, when he joined Earnhardt’s race team for the 2001 Daytona 500. On the last lap of the “Great American Race,” Waltrip held the lead with Earnhardt Jr. in second and “Sr.” in third. Instead of making his trademark, ruthless charge to the front, Earnhardt Sr. blocked the field of 40 cars to allow his friend to take his first checkered flag. Waltrip never had the opportunity to celebrate with Earnhardt Sr., as the legend was killed on that last lap in what was initially thought to be a minor crash. Later, Waltrip would pay homage to “Sr.” on his return to Daytona in dramatic, unexpected fashion.
The film features interviews with Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. along with Ty Norris, the former Executive Vice President of Motorsports for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Richard Childress, and includes a special audio cameo by country music star, Trace Adkins.
“BLINK OF AN EYE touches a much wider audience than NASCAR fans, it is a story of perseverance and friendship that anyone can relate to,” said Danny Grant, Senior Vice President of Film and Strategic Partnerships. “Paul Taublieb does a fantastic, cinematic job with this long untold story and we are excited to partner with TAUBLIEB Films and Monster Energy, along with the support of NASCAR, in bringing this film to theaters and homes nation-wide.”
Producer-Director Taublieb reiterated the wide appeal of Waltrip’s story, stating, "I'm humbled Michael Waltrip placed his trust in me to tell his heartfelt and inspiring story in such intimate fashion, yet on the large canvass of cars going 200 miles an hour. BLINK OF AN EYE is the most compelling sports story never told, and one that transcends sports.”
BLINK Producer Mitch Covington, also a senior executive at Monster Energy, added, “It’s a story for the ages, and myself and the company are thrilled to support and help bring to life, and we’re all fortunate to have a talent like Taublieb helming the project. And it inspired me to write the theme song, In the Blink of an Eye which was recorded by legendary rock star, Bobby Capps of 38 Special.”
The deal was negotiated by 1091’s Danny Grant and Taublieb on behalf of the filmmakers and Waltrip. BLINK was produced by TAUBLIEB Films with support from Monster Energy and in association with NASCAR, with NASCAR’s Steve Phelps also serving as an Executive Producer.
Director-Writer-Producer Taublieb and his production company, TAUBLIEB Films, are two-time Emmy winners, having taken honors in 2014 for Best Sports Documentary Series with the ESPN 30 for 30 “Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau," and in 2017 in the Outstanding Long Documentary category with “UNCHAINED: The Untold Story of Freestyle Motocross,” with company principal and Producer Susan Cooper sharing in these awards, and BLINK Producer Mitch Covington also winning an Emmy for his role as a Producer. Covington composed the title song for the film, “Blink of an Eye,” which will be released as a single by Cali-Bama Records. BLINK was produced by TAUBLIEB Films with support from Monster Energy and in association with NASCAR.
BLINK OF AN EYE has also been acquired to be developed into a dramatic feature film by legendary Hollywood producer Roger Birnbaum, with whom Taublieb produced the hit film “THE VOW” in 2014, which grossed $200,000,000 at the box office.
Upcoming 1091 releases include Werner Herzog’s documentary MEETING GORBACHEV (May 3), the fashion documentary HALSTON (May 24.), Hannah Pearl Utt’s feature directorial debut BEFORE YOU KNOW IT (second half of 2019) and the Sundance Film Festival documentary “MIDNIGHT FAMILY” (summer 2019). 1091’s roster boasts 150 award nominations and wins, including two Academy Award nominations for CARTEL LAND and LIFE, ANIMATED, 14 Independent Spirit nominations and over 75 Critics Circle awards. In addition, the company has acquired and distributed critically-acclaimed documentaries and theatricals including WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, AMERICAN ANIMALS, THE HERO, WE THE ANIMALS, THE OVERNIGHT, BIRDS OF PASSAGE, NERUDA, EL ANGEL, BPM (Beats Per Minute), THE DAWN WALL, among many more.
Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Coca-Cola Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season’s longest race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Sunday night. And Suárez will stray from his usual Haas Automation and ARRIS liveries to pilot the red-and-white Coca-Cola Mustang. This weekend marks the second time this season he’ll pilot the No. 41 Mustang with Coca-Cola branding. He finished 12th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola scheme.
“This season has been very good so far but I’m looking to turn it into a great season,” Suárez said. “We are moving in the right direction and I’m looking forward to doing even better. We’ve had strong cars over the last month and a half and hopefully I can do my part as the driver and make it a great race this weekend. The one thing I’ve been dreaming about from this race is the amazing vintage Coca-Cola vending machine you get if you win. I really want to bring that thing to my house.”
The traditional Memorial Day weekend event is not only the longest race on the Cup Series tour, it presents an important opportunity to remember fallen service members. The traditional Cup Series windshield headers have been replaced with names of fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate price while serving their country.
Riding along with Suárez this weekend is United States Army SFC Randy Michael Shugart, who received the Medal of Honor Citation. Shughart distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on Oct. 3, 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Shughart provided precision sniper fire from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites while subjected to intense automatic weapons- and rocket-propelled-grenade fire. While providing critical suppressive fire at the second crash site, Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site.
Shughart and his team leader did not hesitate to volunteer to protect four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fire at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Shughart and his team leader were inserted 100 meters south of the crash site.
Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter that placed him and his fellow sniper in a most vulnerable position.
Shughart used his long-range rifle and sidearm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army. The heroism of Shughart and Army MSG Gary Gordon, whose name is on Suarez’s SHR teammate Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford for Sunday’s race, were chronicled in the 2001 movie Black Hawk Down.
On the racetrack this weekend, Suárez hits the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval where he has three Cup Series starts with one top-10 starting position and one top-10 finish. He has an average starting position of 14.7 in his three starts and an average finishing position of 10.7 with 99.9 percent of all possible laps completed.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the Mexican native has made five Charlotte starts with two top-fives and four top-10s, along with one pole position in October 2017. He’s earned a 6.6 Xfinity average starting and finishing position at Charlotte, along with 115 laps led. He also made one NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series start in May 2016.
Fans watching the race on television Sunday will have the opportunity to enjoy a unique view from inside Suárez’s cockpit with an in-car camera provided by Coca-Cola.
There are many holidays on the calendar, but none quite like Memorial Day.
It’s an important one for the sport of automobile racing, beginning with a Formula One race in Monaco on Sunday morning followed by the Indianapolis 500 and concluding with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It’s also about cemeteries across the globe, with rows of white crosses, each representing a service member who paid the ultimate price for his or her fellow Americans.
For the past five years, the NASCAR community and Charlotte Motor Speedway have come up with an appropriate mix of the solemn and the spectacular.
As part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance, each car in the field carries on its windshield the name of a fallen service member.
In most cases, race teams host family members or friends of the deceased hero. The track also hosts thousands of active-duty service members and their families, as well as veterans. Goodyear, the official tire supplier for the series, replaces its customary “Eagle” logo with “Honor and Remember” for the 600 weekend.
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang will honor the late U.S. Army Specialist David E. Hickman, 23, of Greensboro, N.C.
He died Nov. 14, 2011, while serving during Operation New Dawn in Baghdad, Iraq.
He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and died from injuries incurred when his armored truck was hit by a roadside bomb.
He was the 4,474th member of the U.S. military to die in the Iraq war, according to the Pentagon.
Before joining the Army, Hickman was a team captain and all-conference linebacker for Northeast Guilford High School.
The son of a U.S. Air Force veteran, Hickman was into fitness, held a Black Belt in Taekwondo, and hoped to one day join the Special Forces, according to a profile on the Honor and Remember website.
“He always seemed like Superman,” Spec. Morgan Corbett, who met Hickman in basic training and became one of his closest friends, said in an article on Honor and Remember. “Everyone looked up to him.”
Eddie Wood said his race team considers it an honor to carry Hickman’s name on the No. 21 Mustang and to host members of his family on Sunday.
“The sport has done a great thing with the 600 Miles of Remembrance program,” Wood said. “It’s what Memorial Day is all about.
“It’s important to pause and remember the people who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us can enjoy the freedoms we have. I never got to meet David Hickman, but I’m glad we will have the opportunity to thank his family members for his sacrifice for us all.”
Wood has known some of the fallen service members his team has recognized through the 600 Miles of Remembrance program.
Last year, the team honored the late U.S. Army First Lt. Leevi Barnard, who like the Wood family was from Patrick County, Va.
In 2015 they honored the late Marine Cpl. Jonathan Bowling, another hometown soldier who also was a friend of the Wood family and a great nephew of Chris Williams, who was an original race team partner with the late Glen Wood.
“This program means a lot to us,” Wood said. “Our race team is going to do its best to put on a performance that properly honors Specialist Hickman.”
Qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled for Thursday at 7:05 p.m, and the race is set to start just after 6 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.
StarCom Racing to Honor Fallen Hero, Cpl. Kyle Schneider at Memorial Day Weekend 600 Miles of Remembrance at the Coca-Cola 60022 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
The StarCom Racing team is proud to announce they will honor the life of fallen U.S. Marine Cpl. Kyle Schneider at this year’s 600 Miles of Remembrance during the 60th annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway this Sunday. The windshield of the SCR 00 Chevy, driven by Landon Cassill, will proudly display Cpl. Schneider, who gave the ultimate sacrifice while deployed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan at just 23 years old.
“Kyle Richard Schneider was born to us a beautiful morning on January 8, 1988,” said Lorie Schneider, mother of fallen hero, Cpl. Schneider. “Kyle loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. We lost a part of heart and soul on June 30, 2011 as Kyle was killed in Action while deployed to Afghanistan.”
In March 2008, Kyle Schneider of upstate New York joined the United States Marine Corps. While at Parris Island Kyle was screened and accepted into Presidential Support Duty at Marine Barracks, 8th & I. After graduating Recruit Training, he attended the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger, NC where he graduated with honors and earned the Military Occupational Skill of 0311, Infantryman. Kyle then reported to Marine Corps Security Force School in Chesapeake, VA. Upon his graduation from Security Force School, he reported to 8th & I, where he served well until May, 2010.
In May 2010, Kyle volunteered for and was transferred to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 3rd Platoon. In January 2011 he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the II Marine Expeditionary Force. He operated with his platoon out of Patrol Base Amoo and Patrol Base Hanjar in the Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Kyle survived a direct IED blast while on patrol in May 2011. After care for his injuries and observation at FOB Leatherneck, Kyle insisted he be sent back to his combat outpost in Sangin. He would not leave his men to whom he was devoted, for this he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Kyle was later killed in action on June 30, 2011 heroically protecting his men. Kyle was posthumously awarded a second Purple Heart. Kyle gallantly rests with valor.
The 600 Miles of Remembrance will be aired live during the NASCAR MENCS Coca-Cola 600 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX. We encourage all Americans to tune-in to the race and to also follow @StarComRacing on social media as we highlight and honor Cpl. Schneider throughout the race weekend as a thank you for his sacrifice and a thank you to his loving family.
StarCom Racing PR
Beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through Independence Day weekend, the NASCAR industry will honor United States Armed Forces heroes and their families as part of NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola – an industry-wide expression of respect, appreciation and reverence for those who have served the nation both past and present.
For the fifth straight year, NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola kicks off with the return of 600 Miles of Remembrance during Sunday’s 60th annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – the nation’s largest Memorial Day weekend celebration.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ race cars will bear the name of a fallen service member on the windshield during the race in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“NASCAR has always taken immense pride in honoring the military men and women who’ve bravely served our nation,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR president. “Each year, NASCAR Salutes unites our industry to celebrate these heroes and their families and recognize them for the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.”
Coca-Cola, the “Official Fan Refreshment of NASCAR®,” returns as the presenting sponsor of NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola to honor the U.S. Armed Forces each week with efforts focused on Remembrance, Family, Future and Patriotism. For example, at the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR and Coca-Cola, alongside Chef Robert Irvine, will host a race-day brunch for Gold Star Families in remembrance of those who served our country.
Along with the USO, Coca-Cola will honor military spouses and their families across the different military branches at Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway. Then at Sonoma Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway, an at-track experience with Troops to the Track Hosted by Coca-Cola will showcase how the industry and its partners support military members in transition to civilian life.
“Our partnership with NASCAR is incredibly important to our system,” said John Mount, Vice President, Marketing Assets & Activation, Coca-Cola North America. “The NASCAR Salutes program and Coca-Cola 600 is a special way to spend Memorial Day as we honor our heroes, and remember our fallen military members.”
On Sunday, Charlotte Motor Speedway will host more than 5,000 active military members, veterans and their families at the Coca-Cola 600 to commemorate Memorial Day weekend. A pre-race Salute to the Troops will incorporate all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces in connection with the U.S. Department of Defense’s #KnowYourMil initiative.
A number of fallen service members who will be honored during 600 Miles of Remembrance have special connections to NASCAR race teams, including Army National Guard Sergeant First Class David Moore and Army Specialist William Jefferies. Both men served in the U.S. Armed Forces with Brian Burns, lead engineer for the No. 37 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet driven by Chris Buescher. Buescher and his teammate Ryan Preece will carry the names of SFC Moore and SPC Jefferies on their car windshields during the Coca-Cola 600.
Family members of many fallen service members will attend the Coca-Cola 600 and be honored during 600 Miles of Remembrance as well. Fans can learn more about the fallen heroes honored during 600 Miles of Remembrance by viewing a special gallery available on NASCAR.com/Salutes.
Among the other NASCAR Salutes events and activities are the following:
- Throughout the platform, fans can follow the NASCAR Salutes conversation on social media using #NASCARSalutes.
- This weekend, NASCAR together with Honor and Remember, Inc., will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who have died in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- Mack Trucks, the “Official Hauler of NASCAR®,” will adorn NASCAR Salutes colors on its flagship NASCAR hauler and lead all hauler parades during the six-week program. This year’s Mack Anthem scheme was chosen by fans through a social media vote and will be unveiled leading up to the Coca-Cola 600.
- During Saturday’s Alsco 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series™ drivers will display red, white and blue Xfinity windshield decals on their race cars.
- For the 10th year in a row, Goodyear will transform its NASCAR race tires by replacing its iconic “Eagle” sidewall design with “Honor and Remember,” in recognition of the organization that worked closely with the industry for 600 Miles of Remembrance to honor military lives lost while serving.
- Sunoco is also working with Honor and Remember on a double flagging moment where a stationary Honor and Remember flag will wave next to the checkered flag at the Coca-Cola 600 and Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- Toyota will honor fallen service members on its Toyota pace and grand marshal vehicles during the Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Toyota will also host military members at its Toyota Owners Hub during the Coca-Cola 600. Through its partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hire our Heroes, Toyota will include “Hire our Heroes” within Toyota PitPass for military veterans and spouses, which assists with resume writing, social media training and connects with employers looking to hire veterans.
- Mars, the “Official Chocolate of NASCAR®,” is highlighting its red, white and blue limited edition M&Ms with a paint scheme for Coca-Cola 600 reigning winner Kyle Busch. The paint scheme was unveiled at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in front of the parents of fallen Army Sergeant Dale Griffin, who will be honored by Busch during 600 Miles of Remembrance.
- During the broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600, FOX will display the name of every U.S. Armed Forces member who lost his or her life since last year’s Memorial Day weekend race as part of a special tribute titled “FOX Sports Remembers,” an initiative begun in 2009. FOX’s scroll will begin running during its pre-race show at 5:30 p.m. ET.
- This Sunday, NASCAR drivers will discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1 p.m. ET. The Dialed In Salute to the Troops special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will feature interviews with several drivers as well as service members from different branches of the military.
- At Pocono Raceway, NASCAR Salutes is joining forces with the USO Military Spouse Network to create a VIP race day experience for USO spouses representing all branches of the military.
- With Coca-Cola at Michigan International Speedway, fans will receive the opportunity to thank military spouses for their support, which will be featured at USO locations across the country.
- At Sonoma Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway, in celebration of 10 years of NASCAR Troops to the Track Hosted by Coca-Cola, active and veteran military members will shadow industry members to learn how the sport, its partners and Coca-Cola support military members in transition to civilian life.
- During the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway, Comcast will work with NASCAR and teams to replace its Xfinity branding with active military units and installations on all NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers’ windshield headers to commemorate Independence Day weekend.
- During the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, in celebration of the NASCAR Salutes finale, Publix in partnership with Coca-Cola, will bring its “Race Day Salute” to the track midway for fans and military alike.
- AMR, the “Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR®,” will include NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola branding on its AMR Safety Trucks and honor a group of first responders with VIP race day experiences during the platform window.
- Sugarlands Shine, the “Official Moonshine of NASCAR®,” is accepting nominations for deserving armed forces, first responders and veterans throughout the NASCAR Salutes window for a VIP trip to this fall’s Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. Submit a nomination today at www.moonshare.org.
Tickets to NASCAR national series events are available at NASCAR.com/tickets.
Clint Bowyer plans to rest, drink lots of water and prepare for a long, hot race late Sunday afternoon at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series holds its longest event of the season – the Coca-Cola 600.
With temperatures expected to touch the 97-degree mark Sunday in North Carolina, it’s appropriate Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will carry the decals of PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze in the 600-mile race. He thinks seeing his car on the track will be a good reminder for race fans to prepare for the hot weather, just like the drivers and race teams.
“What a weekend for PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze to make its debut on our Mustang,” Bowyer said. “I’m willing to bet, among the thousands of cars this weekend in the heat and humidity at Charlotte and with the hot weather all over the country, someone is going to wish they had put PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze in their car. If you’re going home and you see someone with their hood up on the side of the road, you’ll know they didn’t.”
Bowyer hopes the weather won’t lead to any mechanical issues on the racetrack as he tries to win one of the sport’s crown jewels. Sunday marks the greatest day of the year in motorsports with the running of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and the 600. Bowyer will join PEAK customers and fans at SHR’s race shop to watch some of the Monaco race, where PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF brands adorn the rear wing endplates of the Haas F1 Team cars driven by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen and owned by SHR co-owner Gene Haas.
After the Monaco race, he’ll drive to the Charlotte track to fulfill more sponsor obligations, watch the Indianapolis race and prepare for 600 miles of racing.
“This is like Christmas Day for a race fan,” Bowyer said. “You could start watching Monaco early in the morning and keep watching racing until we are done late at night on Sunday.”
Bowyer should be one of the favorites this weekend. He won the pole and finished 12th in the Monster Energy All-Star Race last weekend at Charlotte. He owns a fall 2012 victory, two top-five finishes and five top-10s in 25 career starts on the Charlotte oval.
Amid the racing, the weekend is about honoring those in the military who gave their lives to their country. The Bowyer family is well aware of the sacrifices made by the military throughout history. Bowyer’s paternal grandfather Dale E. Bowyer was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. He won the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while fighting the armed enemy in Germany during World War II.
The Distinguished Service Cross, awarded for extraordinary heroism, is the second-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the Army. While leading his platoon under heavy fire in an attack near Sinz, Germany, on Jan. 25, 1945, Lt. Bowyer was severely wounded by an enemy mine. He refused evacuation even though both his feet were shattered. He shouted instructions and encouragement where he lay. Inspired by his bravery, the men re-formed, moved clear of the minefield and continued the advance. Only then did Lt. Bowyer allow himself to be evacuated, crawling clear of the minefield to avoid injury to people.
“His devotion to duty and to his men, and his courage and fearless determination, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,” read the commendation he received. Lt. Bowyer eventually lost a leg due to his injuries. After his career in the Army, he lived in Iola, Kansas, and worked in the dairy business. He passed away in June 1974. Bowyer never met his grandfather.
This Sunday, his grandson Clint Bowyer will carry the name of Medal of Honor Citation recipient Master Sergeant Gary Gordon of the Army. Gordon died Oct. 3, 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command, with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. The heroism of Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart, whose name is on SHR teammate Daniel Suarez’s No. 41 Ford in Sunday’s 600-mile race, were chronicled in the 2001 movie Black Hawk Down.
Gordon’s sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission.
When debris and enemy ground fire at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Gordon was inserted 100 meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter that placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Gordon used his long-range rifle and sidearm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Gordon then went back to the wreckage to recover some of the crew’s weapons and ammunition.
Despite the fact he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, “Good luck.” Then, armed only with his pistol, Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life.
“These are the real heroes in life and I’m honored we will carry Gary Gordon’s name on our car,” Bowyer said.
The last weekend in May always has special meaning to Americans, for whom it is a time to remember and honor the soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the United States military.
For race fans in particular, the weekend is uniquely special in that America’s fallen soldiers are honored in the many festivities surrounding what is widely recognized as the country’s biggest racing weekend of the year. In the United States, the racing day starts at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the iconic Indianapolis 500 and finishes under the lights at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with the longest race of the Monster Energy NASCAR’s Cup Series season – the Coca-Cola 600. Not only are they famous and historic racing events, but both host many active duty military and both have traditions that honor soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
With that, a familiar way of honoring fallen soldiers returns with the NASCAR Salutes program over the summer, beginning with this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. NASCAR Salutes at Charlotte features “600 Miles of Remembrance,” during which each car in the field will carry the name of a fallen soldier on the windshield. Busch has the honor of displaying the name of SGT Dale Griffin on his M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota. Griffin, a native of Terre Haute, Indiana lost his life in Afghanistan in October 2009.
Busch, the defending Coca-Cola 600 winner, unveiled the patriotic paint scheme that will adorn his No. 18 M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota Camry in this year’s race back on May 8 and was honored to be joined by Dona and Gene Griffin, the parents of Army SGT Griffin. Busch hopes that, just like SGT Eric Toth one year ago, he can take SGT Griffin’s name and legacy to victory lane this weekend.
In addition to honoring a fallen soldier, the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota Camry features a patriotic paint scheme itself that celebrates M&M’S Red, White & Blue Mix available at local retailers where the M&M’S brand will help to support America’s troops. For every pack of M&M’S Red, White & Blue Mix purchased between May 1 and Aug. 31, a donation will be made to the USO to help entertain the troops. This is part of the $250,000 that Mars Wrigley Confectionery has pledged to the USO this year.
Busch will look to honor Griffin and all fallen soldiers with a strong run in his patriotic scheme, and he’ll be heading into the 13th points race of the season looking to bring home back-to-back victories in the crown jewel Coca-Cola 600 to follow up his dominant performance from one year ago.
Busch actually broke through in the Cup Series at Charlotte two years ago in the non-points All-Star Race for his first Cup Series win of any kind at the 1.5-mile oval. Ever since his childhood in Las Vegas, some of Busch’s favorite race-watching memories came during Charlotte’s iconic Coca-Cola 600 and All-Star Race during the month of May. He dreamed that one day he, too, could be the one hoisting the trophy at one of stock car racing’s most hallowed grounds, and he finally accomplished that goal with the 2017 All-Star win and last year’s Coca-Cola 600 win, both on the 1.5-mile oval.
In his 29 previous Cup Series starts at Charlotte over the past 13-plus seasons, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success there with 12 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s. In addition to solid Cup Series finishes, Busch has captured eight NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Charlotte – May 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010, October 2008 and 2009, and both May and October 2013. He also has eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at the track – 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.
So, this Memorial Day weekend, Busch will look to bring home his second crown jewel win at Charlotte and, at the same time, honor SGT Griffin and all troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those who continue to serve America and the Red, White & Blue.