JOLIET, Ill. (April 10, 2018) - Chicagoland Speedway announced today the multi-faceted plan to enhance the active military and veteran military recognition at this summer's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stars and Stripes weekend June 28 - July 1. Race fans will join the recognition of our country's service men and women with an omnipresent military theme woven into four days of racing as part of NASCAR Salutes.
"Chicagoland Speedway has always used its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend as a platform to pay tribute to active and veteran military members, and this year we will raise the bar as we celebrate our Stars and Stripes weekend to kick off the Fourth of July holiday," said Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock.
Champions Park will include a Freedom Walk, featuring museums, memorials, military vehicles, ceremonies and organizations in support of military and veterans.
Illinois Patriot Guard Riders
The Patriot Guard Riders, which is comprised of more than 9,000 Illinois chapter members, will ride their motorcycles in Friday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hauler parade, Sunday's opening ceremonies and a variety of other activities throughout the weekend. The purpose of the group is to uphold the dignity and respect at memorial services that honor fallen military heroes, first responders and honorably discharged veterans by protecting their funerals from uninvited guests. The riders are a non-political, national 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose members share an unwavering respect for those who risked their lives for America's security and freedom.
Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall
Initiated and completed by Gold Star Families and members of the Illinois Patriot Guard, the Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall features the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11. The wall will be on display the entire weekend so that every name can be read and remembered. Gold Star Families refer to those who are relatives of those who have died while serving our nation's military.
The Veterans Garage is a group of veterans and patriots dedicated to the preservation, restoration and maintenance of historic military vehicles and equipment. It is also a working maintenance and restoration facility that is made available for military vehicle owners to work on their own historical vehicles. The 501c3 non-profit organization provides veterans the opportunity to socialize in a memorabilia-rich environment, reminisce and bond with other veterans while working toward a common purpose. The group recently completed the restoration of a 1943 M5 3-inch Anti-Tank Gun on behalf of Mokena's Wm. F. Martin VFW Post 725. This historic WWII canon has been restored and returned to Mokena's historic Pioneer Cemetery, where it has resided for over 70 years. The group will have numerous authentic military vehicles on display throughout the weekend including:
• 1966 M151 Mutt Jeep (Vietnam Era)
• 1989 HMMWV M998 (modern)
• 1991 HMMWV M1038 (with replica .50 caliber machine gun attached) (modern)
• 1952 Dodge M37 Air Force 3/4 Ton Troop Transport Vehicle (Korean Era)
• 1954 M43 Dodge Ambulance (Korean Era)
• 1971 M35 A2 "Duce and a Half" 2.5 Ton Troop Transport Vehicle that is from the Vietnam Era, but is painted and canvased from WWII era in memorial to a WWII veteran.
• 1966 M274A2 Mule
• 1990 VMY 5 Ton 6-by-6 painted for the Navy Seabees
• 1991 5-Ton Troop Transport Vehicle (modern)
GHQ Military Preservation Group
This 501c3 non-profit organization is a rolling museum that provides a way to preserve our military history and heritage giving all Americans the opportunity to view, experience and learn about our nation's military services. The purpose is to deliver a chance to better understand, appreciate and respect all who have served our country and protected our freedom. The weekend-long display includes a Vietnam-era tent featuring an array of Vietnam-era memorabilia. Positioned next to the tent, an equally impressive line-up of WWI and WWII memorabilia will be showcased. One of the highlights of the display is a 1966 M151 Jeep (Vietnam Era).
Operation Care Package & Wreaths Across America
Operation Care Package is an all-volunteer non-profit 501c3 that gathers, packages and ships supplies to thousands of service members around the world every year. Founded by three Will County women, whose brothers and sons served, they learned that many active military receive no mail and often exist on limited supplies. These same volunteers also orchestrate the vast effort of the national non-profit Wreaths Across America locally at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Operation Care Package volunteers organize thousands of other volunteers from numerous groups around the state on a single December day in order to place donated wreaths on veterans graves.
Civil War Museum and Canon
The First Illinois Light Artillery Battery L Mulligan's Battery is a non-profit group that honors veterans of the Union Army in the Civil War. Historians will display museum artifacts and a canon throughout the weekend.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Chicagoland Speedway's neighbor, the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, is a national treasure. The public is invited to learn more about this benefit for military service members and spouses during the event weekend. The Honor Ceremony will be emceed by Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Director Quincy McCall on Saturday.
In support of Operation Deployed, Raceway Ministries will be collecting care package donations for active and deployed military. Throughout the weekend, fans can visit the Raceway Ministries drop off points, located across from Champion's Park and at the entrances of Lower Ridge and Lakeside Campgrounds, to donate the top five requested items by armed forces overseas:
• Wet Wipes
• Jerky/Sunflower Seeds
• Protein Bars/Meal Bars
• Ramen Noodles/Instant Mac N Cheese
Donations will be collected and shipped to active units overseas following the race weekend.
All active and veteran military members can purchase discount tickets here.
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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway will take place on July 1 as part of the four-race weekend June 28 - July 1. The weekend will kick off on Thursday, June 28 with the SCOTT® 150 ARCA Racing Series followed by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overton's 225 under the lights on Friday night. On Saturday, June 30, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Overton's 300 will hit the track as the precursor to Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 showdown.
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