Phoenix International Raceway’s popular fall race has fallen on or around Veterans Day for nearly the past 15 years. This weekend, the track will be recognizing veterans throughout the weekend for the DAV 200 – Honoring America’s Veterans on Saturday, Nov. 14 and the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 on Sunday, Nov. 15.
For the second year-in-a-row, PIR partnered with Disabled American Veterans to present the DAV 200 – Honoring America’s Veterans NASCAR XFINITY Series Race on Saturday, Nov. 14 and will be hosting and recognizing US military veterans during pre-race ceremonies. As part of their outreach, the track has been running a donation campaign to raise money to support the DAV’s efforts to educate and assist US military veterans and their families.
On Sunday, Nov. 15, all five major branches of the US military will be represented during pre-race ceremonies prior to the start of the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in a show of patriotism. The US Air Force will even be performing an induction ceremony prior to driver introductions.
The honorary officials for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 will recognize several notable veterans. The Grand Marshal will be highly decorated US Navy Veteran and US Senator for the State of Arizona John McCain. US Marine Corps Veteran and former UFC Champion Brian Stann will act as Honorary Pace Car Driver, while the honorary Starter will be the 22-year US Army Veteran and Head of Veterans Affairs for Quicken Loans, Rob Ells. The Invocation given on Sunday prior to the start of the race will be delivered by Chaplain and retired National Guard member Colonel Daniel Butler courtesy of the University of Phoenix who with Quicken Loans and other PIR Partners donated tickets for Veterans to attend the race.
In cooperation with Luke Air Force Base, attendees at the race will enjoy the first-ever F-35 flyover highlighting the newest unit to be housed at the Glendale base while and the Honor and Remembrance flag will fly above the score tower.
NASCAR will host the 29th NASCAR Troops to the Track program of 2015, presented by Bank of America, when it welcomes a group of airmen from Luke Air Force Base to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. The NASCAR Troops to the Track program is a season-long initiative that honors members of the military for their services and treats them to customized experiences at a NASCAR race.
In partnership with Honor and Remember, NASCAR will also welcome the Gold Star families of U.S. Army Spc. Thomas H. Byrd and U.S. Army Sgt. James Witkowski to Phoenix International Raceway. Spc. Byrd was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia, and was killed Oct. 15, 2005, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Witkowski was assigned to the 729th Transportation Company, Army Reserve, Fresno, California, and died Oct. 26, 2005, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during convoy operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Additionally, Comcast, the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, will host approximately 75 military veterans and guests, all of whom are from Arizona, at the DAV 200 – Honoring America’s Veterans. Comcast worked with local VetNet chapters in Arizona to select the veterans invited to the race.