NASCAR’s “Troops to the Track” program celebrates 5-year anniversary

Leave a comment

Here’s a good story heading into the July 4 holiday next week, as the NASCAR Troops to the Track program celebrates its five-year anniversary.

The program sees NASCAR and the Armed Forces Foundation created a year-round recreational group therapy program that honors service men and women, veterans and military families at races throughout the country. It’s traditionally been done at 20 or more NASCAR races each year.

The program has quickly become one of NASCAR’s signature initiatives, where thousands of troops from local military installations across the country are treated to customized VIP experiences which include garage tours, driver meet-and-greets and recognition during the drivers’ meeting, among many other special-access activities.

Last week at Sonoma, the program announced Bank of America, the official bank of NASCAR, as the presenting sponsor of Troops to the Track, and NASCAR recognized the Troops to the Track program in a pre-race ceremony.

“NASCAR has a long tradition of supporting our nation’s military and we are honored by the presence of the men and women who serve our country and their families at our races,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “Through the collective support of the Armed Forces Foundation and Bank of America, we are proud to say that the initiative will expand to 27 races this season, the most since the program began five years ago.”

Added Patricia Driscoll, President of the Armed Forces Foundation: “Troops to the Track presented by Bank of America showcases NASCAR’s commitment to our nation’s military and we are proud of our joint effort the past five years to serve the military. Here at the Armed Forces Foundation, we constantly strive to ‘serve those who serve,’ and with the support from NASCAR and Bank of America, we will be able to provide more opportunities for service members and their families around the country to get away from the stresses of injuries and deployments while enjoying the patriotism of the NASCAR community.”

Driscoll and AFF have been in the news for more good reasons this year, as Kurt Busch’s run at “The Double” of 1,100 miles in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend was also done in support of the troops.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

Follow @JerryBonkowski