A group of California-based U.S. Marines will enjoy a VIP race experience at Auto Club Speedway before their next deployment, courtesy of Love’s Travel Stops and Michael McDowell’s No. 34 team. Five members of Lima Co. 1st Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., will be guests of the team for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.
Cpl. Tanner Reihm, Cpl. Dalton Muma, Lance Cpl. Ryan McLean, Lance Cpl. Jacob Milton and Cpl. Tyler Yonley recently completed a month-long Integrated Training Exercise in preparation for their upcoming deployment with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). Before they go, they will get to enjoy a VIP race day experience at the Fontana, Calif., track, including a meet-and-greet with McDowell and pre-race ceremonies on pit road with the team.
“This is a great experience for me and these close friends of mine – another chance to cut loose and unwind a bit before we deploy again,” Cpl. Reihm said. “Two years ago, Dalton Muma and I got to attend this race and we had an amazing time, and we were welcomed with open arms by the Front Row team and all of the NASCAR teams. I wanted to share that experience again with my fellow Marines who share a love for NASCAR like me.”
McDowell is proud to join Love’s in giving the Marines a special day to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
“I feel the NASCAR community always steps up in showing appreciation for our military,” the 10-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran said. “And I’m really proud that our Love’s team is going to personally have the opportunity to host this local group of guys on race day and give them an all-access experience. I will be extremely proud to be standing next to them on pit road when our anthem plays.”
Cpl. Reihm is the son of Love’s Travel Stops employee Heather Scoggins, who works at Love’s Oklahoma City, Okla., headquarters.
“It makes my heart proud that these young men have stepped up to fight for our country. They lay their lives on the line for all of us to remain free, and they receive very little in return,” Scoggins said. “It makes my heart happy that this opportunity has been arranged for them. It gives them a chance to enjoy a little bit of the ‘real world’ before they deploy. I know that each of them is beyond excited, and they will carry the wonderful memories with them on deployment.”
The Love’s Travel Stops team will have another show of support for the military on the race car itself. For the third consecutive season, Love’s will show its continued support for the Special Forces Charitable Trust on the Ford Fusion’s rear quarter panels. The organization provides support for the U.S. Army Special Forces community and their families.
The Auto Club 400 is scheduled to air live on FOX, with coverage beginning Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.