Cuban American NASCAR star Aric Almirola reminds fans that "our freedom is not free"
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola will honor hero Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor during the Coca-Cola 600 with the fallen veteran’s name on his car. Monsoor was awarded the Medal of Honor for throwing himself onto a grenade to save other members of his SEAL team in Iraq.
NASCAR will be honoring the heroes and victims of 9/11 at its second-round playoff weekend at Richmond Raceway.
NASCAR worked with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on the tributes, which include a recovered 1,100-pound piece of steel from the near the top of the World Trade Center that was put on display in the track’s midway spectator area with the help of the Henrico County First Responders.
A Wall of Remembrance provided by race sponsor Toyota will also be nearby for fans and personnel to pay their respects to those lost.
Several cars in both the Go Bowling 250 Xfinity Series race and the Federated Auto Parts 500 Salute to First Responders Cup Series races will feature special paint schemes for the day.
Among the many racers driving special cars are Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will be returning to the track for the Xfinity race in a car featuring a United for America livery inspired by Ground Zero’s Tribute in Lights.
Earnhardt won the first Cup Series race held after the attacks at Dover in 2001 and carried an American flag during his victory lap.
Earnhardt won the Cal Ripken 400 at Dover International Speedway upon NASCAR’s return to racing following the 9/11 attacks.
(Getty Images/Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT)
Cup Series driver Aric Almirola’s Ford will wear We Will Never Forget messaging and Erik Jones will be behind the wheel of a Chevrolet with a Never Forget motif.
CUBAN-AMERICAN NASCAR DRIVER ARIC ALMIROLA REMINDS FANS THAT “OUR FREEDOM IS NOT FREE”
The Cup Series race will be preceded by a parade lap led by first responder vehicles as teams and fans hold American flags and 9/11 Memorial and Museum flags. A a banner with the names of the 2,977 people lost will be unfurled over Turn 4 before the Henrico Fire Choir sings the National Anthem, followed by a rendition of God Bless America by the Air Force Chorus and the “start your engines” command given by a group of first responders.
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A collection of items and equipment used during the race will be auctioned by The NASCAR Foundation to raise money for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s Never Forget Fund.