American heroes to be saluted at LMS

NASCAR STARS SALUTE U.S. ARMED SERVICES WITH THE AMERICAN HEROES MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE Armed Forces Unite for Largest Military Tribute in History by NASCAR Drivers; Program to Raise Significant Funds for U.S. Military Families CHARLOTTE, N.C.


Armed Forces Unite for Largest Military Tribute in History by NASCAR Drivers; Program to Raise Significant Funds for U.S. Military Families

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 8, 2007) -- Eight Nextel Cup drivers and two Busch drivers will lead all NASCAR fans in the American Heroes Memorial Day salute to the armed forces on Sunday, May 27th, at Lowe's Motor Speedway to kick off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families in need.

Participating drivers include Greg Biffle, Ward Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Shane Huffman, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Casey Mears and Jon Wood. The cars were unveiled today at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Distinguished members of the military kicked off the American Heroes tribute in grand style with a military color guard presentation and the presentation of the cars that will run in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend to show their support for America's armed forces.

"NASCAR and its fans have always been tremendously supportive of the troops and I stand with them," said Jeff Gordon. "The men and women of the armed forces have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and we want to thank each and every one of them and their families at the American Heroes Memorial Day tribute."

The NASCAR team owners, sponsors, drivers and employees donated the space on their cars to collectively thank the armed forces at the Coca-Cola 600.

The American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute is being supported by Sprint Nextel, which will conduct a national fundraising campaign to encourage Sprint Nextel customers to support the troops with their donations to the USO. By texting 67783 on their Sprint Nextel phones, customers can sign up to contribute to the campaign and receive the donation forms via email.

"Sprint Nextel has a long tradition of working in tandem with the U.S. military, so it is a natural tie for us to extend our support to the American Heroes Memorial Day tribute," said Dean Kessel, director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel. "It is an honor and privilege for our company to support the men and women who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect our country, and we hope the race fans embrace this worthy cause too."

Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the participating drivers will be available for sale through Motorsports Authentics.

The American Heroes program hopes to raise significant funds for American military families in need through the effort.

"The USO is proud to be the beneficiary of the American Heroes campaign," said Edward A. Powell, USO president and CEO. "We thank Speedway Motorsports, Sprint Nextel, the NASCAR community and its fans for their support of our men and women in uniform and the USO. It is with great pleasure that the USO joins you in conveying our gratitude for their service and sacrifice"

Lowe's Motor Speedway, Sprint Nextel, Motorsports Authentics, Victory Management Group and the NASCAR teams and their respective sponsors developed the program. JHE Productions and Lowe's Motor Speedway will collaborate to create a fantastic pre-race tribute presentation.

Four major organizations will work together to promote the American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute and support the event fundraising efforts.


For more than 66 years, the USO has been the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military. In times of peace and war, the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of comfort, morale and recreational services to the military. The USO, a congressionally chartered, private, nonprofit organization, relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations to support USO activities.

Today, the USO delivers its programs and services at more than 130 locations around the world. In recent years, the USO opened centers in Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan to support service members participating in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, as well as centers in Vicenza, Italy, and at the Dallas/Fort Worth, Raleigh/Durham and Denver International Airports.

Military personnel and family members visited USO centers more than 4.7 million times last year. Services include free Internet and e-mail access, entertainment lounges, libraries and reading rooms, housing assistance, support groups, game rooms and nursery facilities.

America Supports You

America Supports You is an ongoing, nationwide program organized by the Department of Defense to showcase Americans' support for the men and women of the armed forces and their families. Since its launch in November of 2004, the America Supports You program has welcomed over 250 homefront organizations and more than 35 corporations to the team.

Many America Supports You supporters support the troops through letter writing, care packages, helping the wounded when they return home, assisting military families, sending an email or kind gesture--to learn more about how you can support military personnel visit

The America Supports You dog tag, emblazoned with the America Supports You logo is the official emblem of the program. It serves as a visible force multiplier in projecting the message that America supports our military men and women.

Speedway Children's Charities

Speedway Children's Charities was founded in 1982 by Bruton Smith, Chairman of Speedway Motorsports and Sonic Automotive, as a way for him to give back to the community. As both companies expanded, so did Speedway Children's Charities. In 1990, Major General Thomas Sadler, USAF (Ret.) was appointed Executive Director to help facilitate growth. Once only associated with the motorsports and automotive industries, Speedway Children's Charities now attracts interest and funding from all types of corporate and community entities. Speedway Children's Charities was named a proud charity of NASCAR in 2003.

The priority at Speedway Children's Charities is improving the quality of life for children in need, and this mission has remained the same throughout its 24-year history. Through donations, sponsorships and fundraising events, they distribute funds directly to qualified nonprofit organizations that provide medial, educational and social services to children. In 2006, they awarded more than $2.8 million to over 470 organizations.

Special Operations Hero Fund

The Hero Fund was started to raise awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and educational grants for the children of special operations personnel killed in training or real world combat. SOWF is committed to sending these children to college, providing them with educational opportunities their fathers would have wanted them to have.

Motorsports Authentics

Motorsports Authentics is the leading provider of officially licensed driver merchandise. Motorsports Authentics will create apparel and die-cast collectables in support of the American Heroes Military Tribute.

"It is an honor for Motorsports Authentics to be a part of this program with Speedway Motorsports, NEXTEL, General Sadler, Victory Management and the teams," said Ruth Crowley, president of Motorsports Authentics. "All of the men and women serving selflessly in the military are heroes in their own right. Their families are also heroes which requires immense sacrifice. This is a great opportunity to recognize, celebrate and support them in a meaningful way. Our sincere hope is that people will come out in force to show their support of this program and to help the heroes among us."

-credit: uso

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Greg Biffle , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jon Wood , Denny Hamlin , Shane Huffman