Wednesday, Jul 06

Burtons To Honor Jason Ramsey At Charlotte

For many American race fans, the enduring images of Memorial Day weekend are the checkered flags at marquee events across the globe and of cemeteries full of white crosses marking the graves of American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they loved.

This year there is another image that gives the weekend a more somber tone – American flags flying at half-staff in honor of the children and teachers who died in Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The victims of the horrific school shooting will be on the minds and hearts of participants and fans at this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the third major race of the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  It follows the Formula One race in Monaco early in the morning, along with the Indianapolis 500, which runs just prior to the 600.
 
Continuing a tradition begun years ago, the NASCAR race cars in the 600 will carry the names of fallen service members as part of the track’s 600 Miles of Remembrance program.
 
The No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang driven by Harrison Burton will carry the name of U.S. Air Force Captain Jason Ramsey of South Boston, Va.
 
Ramsey was one of 33 who died Sept. 13, 1997, off the coast of Namibia, Africa, when an Air Force C-141 was involved in a mid-air collision with a German Tupolev 154. Reports stated that the C-141 had just delivered U.S. Soldiers and mine-clearing equipment from Ft. Bragg in North Carolina to Windhook Field, Namibia. 
 
Ramsey was one of the pilots of the C-141.
 
An Air Force investigation found that the German plane was flying at the wrong altitude, causing the crash. 
 
In his younger years, Ramsey was friends with Burton’s parents Jeff and Kim Burton.
 
“Jason Ramsey was the son of Ron and Marie Ramsey,” Kim Burton said. “Ron was the high school football coach in my hometown of South Boston, and Marie worked for years with my Mom and Dad in my father’s medical clinic.” 
 
“Jeff and I attended high school with Jason, and his parents were good friends with my parents.”
 
After graduating high school in 1988, Ramsey attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he graduated in 1992.
 
He graduated from Flight School at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. At the time of his death he was assigned to the 13th Airlift Squadron based at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
  
“As a family, we are so pleased to be able to honor Jason and the service and sacrifice he made for our country,” Kim Burton said. “It is important to our family and to our hometown to keep Jason’s memory alive and to let Jason’s parents Ron and Marie know that we won’t ever forget their son.”  
 
“Harrison will proudly carry Jason’s name with him this weekend.”
 
Practice for the Coca-Cola 600 is set for Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by qualifying at 7:45.
 
Sunday’s 400-lap, 600-mile race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 6 p.m., with TV coverage on FOX.
 
Stage breaks are set for Laps 100, 200 and 300.

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