Hope For The Warriors has partnered with three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) teams to honor and remember a total of 28 fallen service members during this year's Coca-Cola 600. The effort will spread the names of post-9/11 fallen service men and women across four different cars for this weekend's race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families, as well as families of the fallen.
As a part of the "600 Miles of Remembrance" and overall NASCAR Salutes program, the organization has placed fallen service members' names on the windshield of the No. 2 Team Penske entry driven by Brad Keselowski, the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing entry driven by JJ Yeley, and BK Racing's No. 23 and No. 83 entries, driven by Gray Gaulding and Corey LaJoie, respectively. Additionally, LaJoie will race a special Hope For The Warriors tribute car featuring a special paint scheme with all 28 names placed on the rear decklid.
"Memorial Day is a day to honor the sacrifice made by our fallen heroes," said Robin Kelleher, co-founder and president of Hope For The Warriors. "Hope For The Warriors is grateful to NASCAR, Team Penske, BK Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing and their drivers for honoring our fallen service members during the Coca-Cola 600 Miles of Remembrance. One thing we often hear from the Gold Star families of those service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, is that they never want their loved one's name forgotten. What a wonderful way to honor them, by displaying their names on NASCAR race cars at one of the sport's most iconic events."
Keselowski's No. 2 Ford will carry the name of SSgt Nicholas Sprovtsoff (USMC, KIA) on the windshield. A fellow Michigan native, SSgt Sprovtsoff was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on September 28, 2011, at the age of 28.
Yeley's No. 7 Chevrolet will carry the name of LCpl Alejandro "Poncho" Yazzie (USMC, KIA) on the windshield. A fellow Arizona native and a member of the Navajo tribe, LCpl Yazzie was killed in action in Marjah, Afghanistan on February 16, 2010, at the age of 23.
Gaulding's No. 23 Toyota will carry the name of Sgt Richard Hrbek (USMC, KIA) on the windshield. A native of New Jersey, Sgt Hrbek was serving his fourth combat tour when he was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on January 14, 2010, at the age of 25.
LaJoie's No. 83 Toyota will carry the name Capt Brandon "Bull" Barrett (USMC, KIA) on the windshield. A native of New Mexico, Capt Barrett was a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy prior to joining the Marine Corps. On May 5, 2010, Capt Barrett was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan at the age of 27.
Hope For The Warriors will host 24 Gold Star family members throughout the course of the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend. Family members of the fallen service members being honored on the windshields were invited to attend, along with family members of Sgt Mark A. Bradley (USMC, KIA), SSgt Jason C. Ramseyer (USMC, KIA), LCpl Christopher Rangel (USMC, KIA) and SGT Kristie A. Roberts (Army National Guard, KIA), who will have their loved ones featured on the No. 83 Hope For The Warriors' tribute car.
The weekend will begin with a private dinner for the families of the fallen on Saturday night. On Sunday, the group will travel to Charlotte Motor Speedway where they will be given a garage tour, have a private meet and greet with the driver honoring their loved one, attend the drivers meeting, and experience the pre-race ceremonies from pit road.
To learn more about Hope For The Warriors or find out how you can get involved, visit HopeForTheWarriors.org. Additionally, you can support Hope For The Warriors and its various programs by making a gift online, by phone at 877-246-7349, or by mail to 8003 Forbes Place, Ste. 201, Springfield, VA 22151.
Hope for Warriors PR