NASCAR stars visit former POW Jessica Lynch

RICHMOND, VA - NASCAR's brightest stars took time off from their racing responsibilities to visit injured veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kenny...

RICHMOND, VA - NASCAR's brightest stars took time off from their racing responsibilities to visit injured veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kenny Wallace met with soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC where they are recovering from their wounds.

"The soldiers we visited have demonstrated heroics far beyond most of our ability to imagine," Jerry Nadeau said. "It is their individual acts of bravery for the greater good that underline what the Army is all about - what 'An Army of One' is all about."

Among the soldiers visited by the NASCAR driver's was Jessica Lynch. Lynch, the 19-year-old aspiring teacher from Palestine, West Virginia was captured with eleven other members of the 507th Maintenance Company on March 23rd near Nasiriyah.

Their unit was ambushed after taking a wrong turn while their motorcade attempted to cross the Euphrates River.

"Jessica is truly an inspiration," said Michael Waltrip. "Seeing her in pain and knowing she must have gone through an absolutely terrible ordeal, it makes you pause and truly appreciate what our young men and women do on our behalf."

She captured the hearts of the American people with her survival skills; by holding on until April 1 when Marine Corp. special ops rescued her from internment in an Iraqi POW holding area. Lynch sustained a head wound, fractures in both her legs, right ankle, foot and arms. Nine of her eleven unit mates were killed.

The NASCAR drivers were some of Lynch's first public visitors since she was transferred from a German hospital to the DC facility. They also had the honor of meeting with Lynch's mother and father and other members of her immediate family.

All of the injured were thrilled to receive visits from the NASCAR personalities, and get the opportunity to chat with the group. The drivers were equally impressed with the patients.

"This was an amazing opportunity for me, and I am sure for the other drivers, too," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "I know that there are thousands of NASCAR fans among the Army ranks. I just let these soldiers know they have hundreds of thousands of fans in NASCAR and I am one of them."

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Ken Schrader , Kenny Wallace , Jerry Nadeau , Johnny Benson