After a near miss of winning last year’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. is braced for another go at NASCAR’s longest race of the season.
But before the green flag drops late Sunday afternoon for the Memorial Day weekend race at the 1.5-mile oval, Truex, along with his Furniture Row Racing team members and the NASCAR community, will take pause to remember the fallen military heroes from different generations who paid the ultimate price to preserve freedom.
As part of NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance, Denver-based Furniture Row Racing will honor U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Edward Bohr, who was killed in action on April 10, 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His name will appear on the windshield on Truex’s No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota.
A native of Ossian, Iowa, GySgt. Bohr was awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously for heroic action against an enemy of the United States during a dangerous mission of seizing a presidential palace in north Baghdad.
Bohr, who also served in the first Gulf War, was in the military for 22 years, six as an Army paratrooper and 16 in the Marine Corps. Prior to his deployment to Iraq, he helped develop the live fire range at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. In 2004, the Marine Corps School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton dedicated a building in his honor.
“Gunnery Sergeant Bohr was a special person in many ways,” said John Parks, director of purchasing at Furniture Row Racing and Marine Corps veteran, who knew Bohr during their time together at Camp Pendleton. “He was a no nonsense Marine and very well respected for his leadership qualities. He was a dedicated military person who gave his all for the cause of freedom. It’s a great honor to have him ride with us this weekend in Charlotte.”
Along with Parks, U.S. military veterans who work at Furniture Row Racing include team owner Barney Visser (Army, Vietnam), Charlie Krauch (Army, Vietnam), Craig Phillips (Air Force, Vietnam), Chuck Lemay (Navy), Barry Huston (Navy) and Gregg Huls (Marine Corps).
Truex expressed his feelings about Gunnery Sergeant Bohr and the meaning of Memorial Day.
“It’s the brave and selfless military people like Gunnery Sergeant Bohr who have put their lives on the line so we can enjoy our freedom,” said Truex. “He deserves a good ride on Sunday and I would like nothing better than to drive the car with his name on it right into Victory Lane."
When Truex says he feels he can win Sunday’s race, he has history to back up the statement.
Truex had the dominating car in the previous two Sprint Cup races at 1.5-mile tracks, leading the most laps at Texas Motor Speedway (141 on April 9) and Kansas Speedway (172 on May 7). He also led the most laps (131) in last year’s Coca-Cola 600, but the four drivers who finished ahead of him took a gamble on fuel mileage.
“We know we can contend at these mile-and-a-half tracks, but we need to close the deal,” said Truex, who scored two top-five finishes at Charlotte last year. “I thought we had the 600 victory last year as we did this year in Texas and Kansas. But things just didn’t work out at the end of those races, and hopefully Sunday night will be our time to celebrate.”
Truex, who is coming off a ninth-place finish in Dover, ranks ninth in Sprint Cup driver points.
Truex Jr. Aiming to Give Fallen Hero Ride to Victory Lane
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