Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16876)

On the selection of Tony Stewart:

“Tony has achieved success across so many racing disciplines during his incredible career. From sprint cars to open-wheel racing and stock cars, Tony is passionate about this sport and is a true competitor. While he competed for Toyota for a short period of time, we are honored to include him amongst the incredible list of Toyota NASCAR Cup winners.”

On the selection of Joe Gibbs:

“Joe is a staple in the Toyota family, believing in our NASCAR vision since partnering with Toyota in 2008. With nine NASCAR titles to his name – including Toyota’s first Cup Series championship in 2015 – Joe is a true legend. As the first person ever to be both a Pro Football Hall of Famer and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, we can all attest that there is no one more deserving.”

On the selection of Bobby Labonte:

“A champion in both the Xfinity and Cup Series, Bobby has been long-deserving of this honor as a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. Coming from a family of racers, Bobby quickly established himself as a race-winning driver who commanded respect in the garage and on the track. We’re proud to have had him in our Toyota family during his final full-time season in the Cup Series and want to congratulate him on this honor.”


NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The five-person group – the 11th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Buddy Baker, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Waddell Wilson. In addition, NASCAR announced that Edsel Ford II earned the 2020 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The distinguished group will be honored during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 31, 2020.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2020 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award.

The Class of 2020 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through and, for the sixth year, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion (Joey Logano). In all, 57 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd and Waddell Wilson). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting was as follows: Tony Stewart (88%), Joe Gibbs (72%), Waddell Wilson (72%), Buddy Baker (70%) and Bobby Labonte (67%).

The next top vote-getters were Mike Stefanik, Ray Fox and Hershel McGriff.

Results for the Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Sam Ard, Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer, Ray Fox, Harry Gant, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Hershel McGriff, Ralph Moody, Marvin Panch, Jim Paschal, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Mike Stefanik and Red Vogt.

Nominees for the Landmark Award included Edsel Ford II, Alvin Hawkins, Mike Helton, Dr. Joseph Mattioli and Ralph Seagraves.

The Class of 2020 Induction Weekend is set for Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, through Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The official Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Class of 2020 marks the 11th class and a total of 55 legends inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Tickets to Induction Ceremony events begin at $75 per person (plus tax and applicable service fees). Tickets go on sale on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at 10 a.m. ET. Special pre-sales will be available to NASCAR Hall of Fame members Tuesday, June 25 through Friday, July 5. For additional details about the Class of 2020 Induction Weekend events and to learn about becoming a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, visit

Class of 2020 Inductees:

Buddy Baker

At six feet, six inches tall, Buddy Baker was often called the “Gentle Giant,” a nod to her personable nature during a 33-year career. In 1980, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native won the Daytona 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph – a track record that still stands. That same year, Baker became the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing at Talladega Superspeedway. He won 19 races in the Cup series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped the rest of the field. He also won back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte in 1972-73. After retiring in 1992, Baker made a successful transition to the television booth as a commentator for The Nashville Network and CBS, and later as a radio co-host on Late Shift and Tradin’ Paint for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs has won throughout his entire life. The three-time Super Bowl champion football coach started Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and has led the organization to four Cup Series championships and five Xfinity Series titles. Known as a master motivator, Gibbs’ 164 Cup Series owner wins (through May 22, 2019) rank third all-time. They include three Daytona 500 victories and five Brickyard 400 wins. His Cup Series titles have come with three different drivers: Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, ’05) and Kyle Busch (2015). Referred to in NASCAR circles has simply “Coach,” Gibbs was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bobby Labonte

The ultimate grinder, Bobby Labonte raced any car he could get behind the wheel of before he got his first break as a full-time Cup Series driver at 28 years old in 1993. His persistence paid off with a career highlighted by 21 trips to Victory Lane and the 2000 Cup Series title. A success in all three of NASCAR’s national series, Labonte was the first of four drivers to win both a Cup and Xfinity Series championship. He is also one of 27 drivers to win a race in all three national series. The Texan showed up on the biggest stages throughout his 2000 Cup championship season, earning two of his four wins in the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500.

Tony Stewart

Known as “The People’s Champion” for his blue-collar, hard-nosed style of competition, Stewart immediately showed that he would be a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR – earning three victories in his Rookie of the Year season. The titles soon followed. Stewart won his first Cup championship in 2002 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and answered that quickly in 2005. His versatility was on display throughout his 17-year NASCAR career. He tallied 49 wins in the Cup Series – winning on every style of track. He won the prestigious Brickyard 400 at his beloved, home-state Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice. In 2009, Stewart became a team owner, partnering with Gene Haas. He won 16 times as a driver/owner including one of the most memorable championship pursuits in history. In 2011, he won five of the 10 Playoff races – including the season finale – to claim his third title by virtue of a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards.

Waddell Wilson

A dual threat as an engine builder and crew chief, Waddell Wilson powered and guided cars to some of the biggest victories in NASCAR history. As an engine builder, he supplied the power that helped David Pearson (1968, ’69) and Benny Parsons (1973) to Cup Series titles. Overall, Wilson’s engines helped some of the greatest drivers to ever wheel a car – including NASCAR Hall of Famers Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip – to 109 wins and 123 poles. He originally gained acclaim for building the engine Roberts used to win the 1963 Southern 500. Wilson guided three cars to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500 as a crew chief, winning The Great American Race with Buddy Baker (1980) and Cale Yarborough (1983-84). The famed “Grey Ghost” he assembled for Buddy Baker still holds the Daytona 500 record with an average speed of 177.602 MPH.


Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:

Edsel Ford II

There are few names as iconic in the sport of auto racing as Edsel Ford II. A member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors and longtime executive of the company founded by his great-grandfather Henry Ford, Edsel’s is a familiar face in the racing garage. Ford’s support of NASCAR has been both behind the scenes with the Ford Motor Company but also out in front where he is greeted warmly by the sport’s competitors, executives, team owners and fans at any race track he visits. His leadership at Ford includes time as President and Chief Operating Officer (May, 1991-1998) and a Director of International Speedway Corporation (November, 2007-October, 2015).


Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will head just a few miles down the road from the race shop for the second consecutive weekend for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Last weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star Race was a non-points event that paid $1 million to the winner, but it’s back to racing for points with this weekend’s 600-mile marathon.


“This weekend is always really special,” Almirola said. “Being able to race and pay tribute to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for me to live in the greatest country in the world is really cool. I grew up in a military family. My dad was in the Air Force, so I know firsthand what the families have sacrificed. There are men and women who wake up every day and fight for our freedom and some of them lay down their lives for us. We get to do really cool things and I get to drive a racecar for a living without the worry of being attacked. We take it for granted that we live in a safe and free country.”


Once again joining the Memorial Day weekend tradition of honoring America’s fallen service members as part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative, the windshield header of each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car will feature the name of a fallen service member. The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang will feature United States Army Warrant Officer John Patrick Bartone. A native of Hampton, Virginia, Bartone was born on Nov. 21, 1949, and was part of the Battery A, 2nd Battalion (Airmobile), 20th Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division. He paid the ultimate sacrifice in South Vietnam when he laid down his life for his country’s freedom on July 15, 1970. 


Bartone was selected to be on Almirola’s car because he is the uncle of No. 10 team engineer Mark Hendrickson’s wife. Ten of Bartone’s family members will be in attendance this weekend to watch Almirola attempt to drive a hero’s name to victory lane in the Coca-Cola 600. Almirola says it’s the least he could do in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice Bartone made to give his countrymen and women the ability to live free in America today. 


“Having Warrant Officer Bartone on the racecar, with his personal connection to someone on our team, means even more,” he said. “Hopefully, we can give him one hell of a ride and make his family proud.”


Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, will adorn Almirola’s Ford Mustang with America’s patriotic red, white and blue. Smithfield is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.


Almirola’s ability to excel on 1.5-mile ovals like Charlotte so far this season indicate a strong run anticipated for the No. 10 Smithfield Ford team. The No. 10 driver has earned a top-10 at three of the four 1.5-mile tracks he’s visited. 


The 35-year-old has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte and garnered one top-five finish, three top-10s and has completed 99.4 percent of all possible laps. He also has two starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Charlotte, which both resulted in top-10 finishes.

Almirola has one pole, a top-five finish, seven top-10s and has led 99 laps this season in his bid for the Cup Series championship. 


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.


Officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced today the signing of a new marketing partner that will debut with the team in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, one of the series’ crown jewel events at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Enlisted Nine Fight Company will team with Rick Ware Racing’s third car for this weekend’s 60th annual Memorial Day event with veteran driver B.J. McLeod aboard the team’s third Cup Series entry, the No. 53 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Enlisted Nine Fight Company is an active-duty-owned clothing brand. It was founded in 2013 by two Senior NCO’s and a military spouse.
The trio embarked on the arduous task of developing a lifestyle brand that would not only give veterans, their families and patriotic Americans a way to express their love for our Armed Forces, Country and fighting, but also provide an affordable, high-quality product.
Enlisted Nine Fight Company along with Rick Ware Racing will honor two American heroes this weekend. RWR and Enlisted Nine Fight Company CEO and co-founder Dan O’Brien will also enshrine one of the most amazing paint schemes in recent memory.
O’Brien, a Gold Star family member lost his brother William who was killed in combat while serving in Iraq on March 15, 2008. O’Brien will memorialize his brother on the front and rear window of McLeod’s Chevrolet.
Additionally, the team and O’Brien will recognize LTC Robert Friend (RET), Tuskegee Airmen. Friend, a close acquittance to O’Brien is 99-years old and resides in Southern California.
McLeod’s Camaro will be wrapped as a replica P-51 Mustang (Red Tail) airplane, similar to what Friend flew during his tour in World War II.
“We are very honored to have such a great veteran-owned business represented on our No. 53 Chevrolet this weekend at Charlotte,” offered RWR team principal Rick Ware. “NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway do such a great job promoting this weekend’s race for Memorial Day – but also recognizing our heroes before the Coca-Cola 600.
“We unveiled the No. 53 Chevrolet last weekend during the Monster Open and the design received a huge response through the press and through social media – we’re proud to bring it back for another weekend.
"It has also been great hearing from Dan and his staff about the support and attention they’ve been receiving. Hopefully, we can have a solid 600 miles of night racing on Sunday.”
O’Brien says Enlisted Nine Fight Company has embraced the opportunity to enter NASCAR with RWR and is eager to expand the partnership following this weekend’s race.
“I’m very excited to have this amazing opportunity with RWR and B.J. McLeod this weekend at Charlotte,” he said. “We look forward to not only Sunday but also what the future holds for both companies.”
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season continues with the 60th annual Coca-Cola 600 (400 laps | 600 miles) at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26 starting at 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX, the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.
To learn more about Enlisted Nine Fight Company, please visit their website, like them on Facebook, follow along on Instagram (@enlistedninefightcompany) and follow them on Twitter (@NineLineApparel).
For more on B.J. McLeod, please like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter (@bjmcleod78). 
For more on Rick Ware Racing, please “like” them on Facebook ( or visit
Rick Ware Racing is on Twitter. Follow them @RickWareRacing.

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 WILDERPEOPLEAMERICAN ANIMALSTHE HEROWE THE ANIMALSTHE OVERNIGHTBIRDS OF PASSAGENERUDA, EL ANGEL, BPM (Beats Per Minute), THE DAWN WALL, among many more.

1091 PR

On Memorial Day weekend, the No. 38 Select Blinds Ford Mustang of David Ragan will recognize Corporal William G. Taylor of the United States Marine Corps, who was killed in the line of duty while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
26-year-old Cpl. Taylor of Macon, Ga. was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was killed on Nov. 30, 2005 by small-arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq.
Taylor's name will be displayed on the windshield of Ragan's Select Blinds Ford for the "Coca-Cola 600" on May 26, where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will pay tribute to the fallen men and women of the U.S. Military. Ragan's car will also feature a red, white and blue patriotic paint scheme as part of the initiative.
"We are honored to have Corporal Taylor's name represented on our car," said Rick Steele, Founder & CMO of "NASCAR provides such a great platform to recognize our military and we are proud to do our part to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
"It's always a very humbling experience to learn the background of the fallen soldier we honor for the Coca-Cola 600," said Ragan. "I'm looking forward to meeting Corporal Taylor's family and having them with us for the race. I'm thankful for the opportunity to show them how much we appreciate the sacrifices their family has made."
The No. 38 patriotic paint scheme will take to the track on Thursday, May 23 for practice and qualifying. The "Coca-Cola 600" Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will air Sunday, May 26 at 6:00 p.m. on FOX.


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.


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


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

Tickets to NASCAR national series events are available at


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