NASCAR honors fallen service members at Coca Cola 600, where top Marine will grand marshal
The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte, North Carolina, race track where he will give the command to start engines, according to Marine officials.
The 600-mile race will also honor fallen service members with their names featured on the windshields of all 40 drivers and several of the pace cars, according to Ms. Tracey H. Campbell, the Marine Week program manager.
The commemoration of the fallen service members is part of NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance program. Six race cars, and at least one pace car and a grand marshal vehicle, will bear the names of fallen Marines, according to Campbell.
“We have been specifically tracking Sgt. Jeannette Winters’ name on Kyle Larson’s number 42 car because NASCAR asked us to provide a name to be honored,” Campbell told Marine Corps Times.
Winters, and six other Marines were killed in the 2002 crash of a Marine refueling tanker in Pakistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Winters was assigned to Miramar, California, based Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 at the time of the crash.
A pace car will also feature the name of Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, who was killed, along with five other Marines, in the tragic December collision between a KC-130J air refueler and an F/A-18 off the coast of Japan.
Herrmann was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, out of the Marine air station in Iwakuni, Japan, at the time of the accident. He was posthumously promoted to lieutenant colonel.
These are the cars and drivers slated for Sunday’s race: