Honoring Our Heroes Over Stars and Stripes Weekend
As we get ready to celebrate Independence Day, we reflect and honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. We have dubbed our 2018 NASCAR Weekend "Stars and Stripes Weekend" as we will honor active duty military and veterans throughout the four days.
We will be holding a plethora of events for veterans, as well as showcasing our patriotism. Take a look at our Military Celebration highlights below.
Military VIP Tent
Exclusively for veterans, active military and their families, this VIP Tent is a place to swap stories and have refreshments. Dignitaries, musical guests and drivers will drop in for special appearances, with a schedule posted inside. A Vietnam Era Gathering will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday featuring Medal of Honor Recipient Al Lynch.
Medal of Honor Recipient Al Lynch
After serving two tours in the U.S. Army in both Germany and Vietnam, Medal of Honor Recipient Al Lynch continually strives to serve others. Lynch repeatedly put himself in the line of fire in order to save his fallen brothers in combat. He will be the Honorary Starter on Sunday, and will speak at a Vietnam Era Gathering in the Veterans VIP Tent Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Vietnam Era Gathering
All veterans and active military are welcome in the Veterans VIP Tent Saturday at 11:30 to hear Medal of Honor Recipient Al Lynch talk about the differences and similarities of those who served in combat and in other ways. Veterans will be able to share stories in a place filled with gratitude and respect.
Our Saturday flyovr involves a smaller 1943 Aeronca L3 Liaisance plane during the Honor Ceremony in Champion’s Park at 10 am to honor Gold Star Families and those KIA.
Illinois Fallen Hero Memorial Wall
The Illinois Patriot Guard and Gold Star Families initiated this traveling Illinois Fallen Hero Memorial Wall, which will be on display in Champion’s Park throughout the weekend. The Illinois Patriot Guard, the American Veterans Motorcycle Riding Association, and the Tinley Park American Legion Riders are among the bikers escorting veterans during Friday’s Hauler Parade.
Performing over race weekend will be the Navy Band Great Lakes, Army 144th Brass Band, and Wounded Warrior Sal Gonzalez, as well as Josh Gallagher.
On Sunday before the Overton's 400, Jim Cornelison will perform his stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Raceway Ministries Donations
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 dropoff points, located across from Champions 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
- K-Cups for Keurig Coffee Machines
- Ramen Noodles/Instant Mac & Cheese
Donations will be collected and shipped to active units overseas following the race weekend.
Military Ambassador Jesse Iwuji
ARCA Racing Series driver Jesse Iwuji, a Surface Warfare Officer in the NAVY Reserves and former track and football player at the United States Naval Academy, will serve as Chicagoland Speedway’s Stars and Stripes Weekend ambassador. Iwuji, the current two-time NASCAR Diversity Driver of the Year, will be busy on and off the track engaging with fans at our various military-themed events
Located in Champion’s Park between parking and the front gate will be a series of veteran and active military interactive displays including traveling museums and artifacts from WWI, WWII, Vietnam and the Civil War. There will be flag folding demonstrations, kids coloring for the troops, and a Native American Veteran display.
Gold Star Saturday
Families of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom will be special guests at the Honor Ceremony Saturday in Champion’s Park at 10 a.m. The names of those killed in action will be read on screen as the Whiteside Memorial Squad renders honors with riffle volleys and “Taps.”
Military Vehicles and Hauler Parade
An impressive gathering of rare and common military vehicles will be on display in Champion’s Park, drive in the Hauler Parade, and lap the track before Sunday’s race. Among them are a WWII armored scout car, a Korean War ambulance, cargo trucks, jeeps, Humvees and a Civil War cannon. Military vehicles will also join the NASCAR Cup Series hauler parade on Friday at 2 p.m. around Champions Park.
Military Celebration Schedule
Thursday, June 28
Friday, June 29
Saturday, June 30
Sunday, July 1
Race Ready Resources
Get NASCAR Weekend Tickets and event information here
Getting in and out of Chicagoland Speedway on race weekend
Everything on and off the track during NASCAR Weekend
Important maps of places in and around Chicagoland Speedway
Know what you can and cannot bring inside the gates of Chicagoland Speedway
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