NASCAR, Daytona Salute U.S. Military

NASCAR

NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will carry the names of military units and installations on their windshields during Friday’s Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona as part of a weekend salute to American service members. (Photo: Getty Images)

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will carry the names of military units and installations on their windshields during Friday night’s Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

United States Armed Forces military installations like U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral; the USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110); and the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division are among the units and installations from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that will replace the customary Xfinity Series windshield strip.

"Our sport and our fans take pride in the tradition of honoring the U.S. Armed Forces on Independence Day Weekend," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. " 'NASCAR Salutes/Refreshed by Coca-Cola' will elevate that sense of appreciation with a special tribute to the military units and bases vital to protecting our country’s freedom.”

Culminating at Daytona, "NASCAR Salutes/Refreshed by Coca-Cola" (#NASCARSalutes) is the industry’s six-week expression of respect and gratitude for those who bravely served and continue to defend the United States today. Fans will once again have the opportunity to write the name of a service member close to their heart on a small poster and "Rise to Honor" them during pace laps preceding Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola Monster Energy Series race.

In Friday's Xfinity Series race, Matt Tifft's No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will honor the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Ft. Stewart, Ga. Several teams have personal, direct ties to the units displayed this year. Brennan Poole’s windshield will read "1BCT, 10th MTN DIV" saluting the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Drum, N.Y., where team engineer Katelyn Supan’s brother is currently serving.

"It’s a privilege to pay tribute to those who serve our country," Poole said. "Our No. 48 crew is like family and we chose to recognize the base of our teammate’s brother’s unit. This weekend is a small token of gratitude compared to what all our service members deserve."

Harrison Rhodes’ windshield will be adorned with "56th CIVIL ENGINEER SQ," located at Luke Air Force Base, where Rhodes’ lifelong friend is stationed. J.J. Yeley visited Camp Pendleton earlier this year and will be honoring the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West based there.

Members from the military bases and installations honored on Xfinity Series racecars will be hosted throughout the weekend. "NASCAR Troops to the Track, Presented by Coca-Cola" will welcome sailors from U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship Crews 114 & 115 based out of Naval Station Mayport, Fla.; guests from the USO; and servicemen and women from military installations in Georgia and Florida.

For the ninth consecutive year, Daytona International Speedway will honor three Medal of Honor recipients during race weekend. A number of service members will serve in honorary roles including U.S. Army General (ret.) Wesley Clark, grand marshal for the Coke Zero 400; and U.S. Navy Captain (ret.) Bob Buehn, chairman of the board for the USO Greater Jacksonville who will serve as grand marshal for the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250. The Navy Band Southeast will perform the National Anthem for the 59th annual Coke Zero 400.

Earlier this month, the NASCAR industry and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race teams honored fallen service members with "600 Miles of Remembrance" at the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park earlier this month celebrated the 100th anniversary of Scott Air Force Base, located near the speedway. As part of that event, fans waved American flags during a four-wide salute at the start of the race and cars carried Scott Air Force Base decals.

Fans can visit NASCAR.com/salutes to share their message of honor for the military, view an online gallery of service members honored and learn more about "NASCAR Salutes" activities.

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