AARP and AARP Drive to End Hunger present the Salute to America’s Heroes Pre-Race Show at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 14
Joliet, Ill. – July 23, 2014 – Chicagoland Speedway today announced AARP and AARP Foundation Drive to End Hunger as the presenters of the “Salute to America’s Heroes Pre-Race Show” prior to the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday, Sept. 14. As part of this patriotic pre-race ceremony, Jim Cornelison, the Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer, will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” on its 200th anniversary, and the Hooligans Flight Team will conduct a pre-race flyover.
"AARP and AARP Foundation Drive to End Hunger are grateful for the support from NASCAR fans and all their work to help older Americans and veterans in need," said AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson. "This event will help shine a spotlight on the issue of hunger that more than nine million people 50-plus must face every day."
Cornelison, a 1992 graduate of Indiana University’s Masters of Music program recently completed his sixth season as the Blackhawks’ full-time national anthem singer, having made regular appearances singing the anthem at the United Center since 1996. Cornelison has also performed at numerous Chicago Bears games and at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup.
“Embracing the heroic men and women of this country is part of the fabric of our sport,” said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway. “Our races are regularly home to military members, first responders and teachers, among other everyday heroes. AARP and AARP Foundation Drive to End Hunger join us and NASCAR in recognizing the importance of honoring and appreciating those who dedicate their lives to others, and we plan to illustrate our appreciation in a memorable way before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”
Ron White, a two-time winner of the USA Memory Championship (2009 and 2010), will also be paying tribute to fallen soldiers in Champions Park throughout the weekend, concluding on Sunday. White, a former Navy intelligence specialist who toured Afghanistan in 2007, has committed the name of each American service member killed in Afghanistan to memory. As a tribute, he inscribes the name of each man or woman on a 50-foot wall of honor.
For the fourth consecutive year, Chicagoland Speedway will host the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this September – the first of ten ‘playoff’ style NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in pursuit of the 2014 championship. The Lucas Oil 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will kick off the weekend on Friday, Sept. 12, along with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. On Saturday, Sept. 13, the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series returns with the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup concluding the weekend on Sunday, Sept. 14.
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