VFW-NASCAR Salute to the Military

KANSAS CITY, Mo.The VFW is honoring 150 wounded warriors and active-duty servicemembers this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), courtesy of a VFW partnership with PIR and Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), VFW’s NASCAR racing team. 

The warriors and active-duty servicemembers’ VIP treatment includes pre-race ceremonies and mingling with NASCAR star racers and VFW drivers Kevin Harvick, Ron Hornaday and Cale Gale. They also will be recognized during Sunday’s pre-race ceremonies when the VFW presents a $25,000 to Road 2 Recovery an organization that strives to make a difference in the lives of veterans by assisting them with their mental and physical rehabilitation programs. 

The November 7-9 NASCAR event celebrates the accomplishments and bravery of current and veteran armed forces personnel and NASCAR racing. 

PIR will honor all veterans during pre-race festivities before weekend racing kickoff Friday, November 7, during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Lucas Oil 150, at which defending series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. will drive a VFW-themed truck for KHI. 

“As an organization of combat veterans, VFW appreciates all PIR and KHI are doing in honoring our nation’s heroes, as well as their assistance in spreading the message of respect and recognition, to better help make the public understand the real meaning of Veterans Day,” said VFW National Commander Glen Gardner, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran from Round Rock, Texas. “We’re thrilled to be able to share such an important day with PIR and KHI as we pay tribute to those who deserve it the most. The 2.2 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries are proud to be associated with such a group of patriotic Americans.”

“I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate Veterans Day than to pay tribute to all of the veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for this country,” said Kevin Harvick, co-owner of KHI with his wife, DeLana. “Everyone at KHI takes great pride in representing such an incredible organization, and we hope this program will help educate the public about the tremendous work they do to support our country’s heroes.”

NASCAR supporters can help the VFW continue with its mission of “honor the dead by helping the living” by texting on their cell phones the word “BRAVE” to 90999. All text messages will be charged $5, which will go toward VFW veterans and military service programs. 

Corporate sponsors for the NASCAR-VFW event include: Linda Brooks, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Chuck and Kim Watson Foundation, Arizona TV 7, Gail Werner Robertson Foundation, Scottsdale Healthcare, Terry Long, Tom Hicks Family Foundation, Energy XXI, John Petersen, Nancy Blurton, RJ Reynolds, UPS, Melinda and Glen Ginter, Red Development, Deb And Steve Erdei, American Liberty Hospitality, Meredith Cullen and Ron and Carrie Woliver

NASCAR Note:Ron Hornaday and the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) No. 33 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) team are looking to build upon last year’s second-place finish and win their seventh race of 2008.

A win in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 would give Hornaday, a two-time winner at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), his third victory at the one-mile track. In 13 Truck Series starts at PIR, Hornaday has recorded two wins (1998 and 1999), eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes and one pole (1995).

Last weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway, Ron Hornaday and the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) No. 33 VFW team overcame mid-race adversity after a caution came out as they were on pit road, putting them on the tail end of the lead lap, to win their sixth race of the season. Hornaday led 45 of the 147 laps, including the final 40 laps en route to his 39th career NASCAR Truck Series victory. The win also closed the gap to six points between point’s leader Johnny Benson and Hornaday in the Truck Series championship standings.