When the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 pulls into victory lane, they’ll carry the name of a fallen soldier with them.
NASCAR announced today plans to replace the front name plate of every Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) vehicle with the name of a fallen United States Armed Forces member.
All 43 NSCS drivers will participate in the Memorial Day Weekend salute, known at the “600 Miles of Remembrance.” The event is being held to honor military service members and their families, and also to commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute™, an industry-wide expression of respect and gratitude for those that have served or continue to serve the United States today.
“The NASCAR community rallying to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, has long been part of our sport’s heritage,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer in a release. “As part of NASCAR: An American Salute, 600 Miles of Remembrance represents a special moment in time as we pay tribute to service members who have sacrificed dearly for our freedom.”
Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on race cars were chosen by the teams, with some having unique connections to the fallen. Greg Biffle will drive his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with the name of Private Dean Van Dyke, a relative to the driver. The No. 83 BK Racing Toyota will carry the name of Army First Lieutenant Daniel Hyde, who served alongside tire changer Chris Clayton.
Many families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance Sunday, and will be introduced alongside their respective driver during driver introductions. They’ll join more than 6,000 active military members hosted at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day.
NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various on- and off-track activities from tracks, teams, and partners to show appreciation and support for troops. The seven-week program will run through Independence Day Weekend with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Fans are urged to follow along and share their personal expressions of thanks to the military using #NASCARSalutes on social media.
NASCAR will continue to host military families at each NSCS race as part of NASCAR Troops to the Track Presented by Bank of America. Multiple partners will also hold programs in support of the troops, including Goodyear, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Mars Chocolate North America and 3M.
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. This will be the fifth-annual pre-race show dedicated to service members that have fallen in the line of duty by FOX.
Coverage for the Coca-Cola 600 will begin from Charlotte Motor Speedway at 6 o.m. ET on FOX, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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