Sacramento-area resident to be Honored as Hometown Hero at Toyota/Save Mart 350 SONOMA, Calif. (June 14, 2010) -- Bill Cathcart has devoted much of his life to the military, including service in World War II and both the Korean War and Vietnam...
Sacramento-area resident to be Honored as Hometown Hero at Toyota/Save Mart 350
SONOMA, Calif. (June 14, 2010) -- Bill Cathcart has devoted much of his life to the military, including service in World War II and both the Korean War and Vietnam War. The resident of Diamond Springs, outside Sacramento, will be honored for his service at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, June 20 (Father's Day).
Cathcart was selected as the winner of the raceway's Hometown Hero contest; he served 24 years combined in the U.S. Marines, California National Guard and U.S. Army. He was nominated by his daughter, Cindy.
Cathcart earned several awards over his stellar career, including: two Purple Hearts; Bronze Star; a Commendation Medal; and the Distinguished Service Cross (the second highest medal that can be awarded). He served from 1942-1968 (he took two years off).
"I was a kid when World War II broke out and I guess I was patriotic," said Cathcart, 85. "I quit in the middle of my senior year of high school and joined the Marines. I spent 37 months in the Pacific in World War II. ... I enjoyed the service all those years. I didn't enjoy the fighting but I enjoyed the service. I guess you could say I grew up in the service."
As it turns out, this is the perfect honor for Cathcart, whose son-in-law, Rick Bray, is a team member for Joe Gibbs Racing and works on Denny Hamlin's race team.
"We follow NASCAR pretty close," Cathcart said. "I just love the racing and the competition and it makes it even better that Rick is in the sport. He's married to my daughter Cindy.
"This is quite a surprise and obviously a very great honor for me, especially to have my daughter Cindy nominate me. It's very special and I'm looking forward to coming out to the races."
Cathcart will be honored during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday, June 20, as the raceway continues its season-long "Sonoma Salutes Our Troops" campaign.
The race weekend will feature a variety of other military-themed elements, including fly-bys provided by the Air National Guard and Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue Parachute Team, plus an Army cannon national salute during pre-race ceremonies.
Some of the season-long elements of the Sonoma Salutes Our Troops program include:
* Increased discounts for active-duty and reserve military members, as well as veterans, at all major events
* Tickets for Troops program, where fans can purchase tickets to the Indy® Grand Prix of Sonoma that will be distributed to members of the military and their families as part of our Military Appreciation Day on Sunday, Aug. 22.
* Partnership with Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms (serving Solano, Napa and Yolo counties) to coordinate shipments of cards, other items, to troops serving overseas.
* Enhanced military participation in pre-event ceremonies at all major events.
* A Sonoma Salutes Our Troops dedicated page on infineonraceway.com/military.
Infineon Raceway is also taking the opportunity to promote a very important program, Troops to College. Troops to College was created by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to attract more veterans to California's public universities and colleges by making campuses more veteran friendly. For more information on the Troops to College program, visit www.troopstocollege.ca.gov.
Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
WHAT: Big O Tires Racing Season Presents: Toyota/Save Mart 350
WHEN: June 18-20 (Father's Day weekend)
2009 POLE WINNER: Brian Vickers (Red Bull Toyota)
2009 WINNER: Kasey Kahne (Budweiser Ford)
NOTABLE: The weekend will also feature the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 NASCAR Pro Series West race on Saturday.
TICKETS: $25-$130 single day/$99-$180 weekend; parking is FREE. Discounts for military.
INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE, infineonraceway.com or ticketmaster.com