Red White And Blue Weekend

God bless, America.

That’s basically what the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are saying as they continue their seasons this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, three weeks after originally scheduled.

Although the racing certainly means something for competitors trying to win championships and impress sponsors, it is clear that the racing will be just window dressing on what will be a patriotic tribute to the American spirit and the victims of the deadly attacks.

Eddie Gossage, TMS general manager, and the IRNLS have a host of tributes planned. Here are some of them.

  • 50,000 American flags will be given to fans as they enter the speedway.
  • Representatives of the Fort Worth fire and police departments will join IRNLS drivers in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with the fans.
  • 2001 IRNLS champ Sam Hornish, Jr. will have an American flag on the engine cover of his No. 4 Panther Racing Dallara-Aurora.
  • A special 30-by-50-foot American flag will be unfurled on the front stretch.
  • Miss Texas 2001 Stacy James will sing America The Beautiful as well as the National Anthem.

    In addition, several other IRNLS teams will have patriotic displays on their cars and uniforms.

    The tribute won’t just be visual, however. Many in the IRNLS camp still have the events of Sept. 11 in mind as they prepare to end their 13-race season.

    Rookie Chris Menninga will be participating in his event for Hemelgarn Racing in the No. 92 Dallara-Aurora, but he looks at this weekend’s Chevy 500 as a testament to the American spirit and part of the healing process.

    “The tragic terror attacks have been devastating to the country and the world, but in this time of need everyone across the country has come together and is showing great amounts of patriotism,” Menninga said. “While our thoughts are with those involved in the tragedy, we also must remember those who are going to be preserving our freedom.

    “We will proceed with our jobs and put on a great race for all of those in Texas and in the U.S., but everyone will be thinking about and hoping for the same thing: an end to terrorism with peace prevailing.”

    Fellow rookie Anthony Lazzaro has the same things on his mind as he prepares for his second race in the No. 99 Dallara-Aurora for Sam Schmidt Motorsports

    “I was happy at the decision to postpone the event,” Lazzaro said. “It was not the time to focus on racing, but now things are better. You don't ever get over what's happened, but the time will help the healing process, and I am now looking forward to getting back to racing.”

    Sarah Fisher is using the tragedy as inspiration as she continues to search for win No. 1 in the IRNLS.

    “For the love of my country, I hope to bring the Texas race home as my first victory,” said Fisher, who will feature American flags on her helmet and the sides of her No. 15 Dallara-Aurora. “It's a return to the first track I ever ran on and hopefully the first I'll ever win.”

    One thing is certain about this weekend’s event: When the national anthem is played and the American flag is brought in to the track, the biggest cheer of the weekend will be heard.

    The winning driver will gladly have to settle for a little less.
  • Race Center

    Auto Club 500

    @ Auto Club Speedway
    Saturday, October 19, 2013
    TV Start:

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