This Memorial Day weekend, Michael McDowell’s No. 34 Ford will honor the memory of a U.S. Marine Corps Gunner who lived in Mooresville, N.C., before being deployed to Iraq, where he was killed in action in 2007.
Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II was born and raised in Manteca, Calif., and enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school graduation. After serving for four years, he joined the civilian ranks and moved to Mooresville, N.C. – right in the heart of NASCAR country – where he met his wife, Tanya, and started a business called Crosslink Powder Coating. The company offered an alternative to liquid paint that was often used on race car parts.
Palmer decided to reenlist in 2005, just before his 35th birthday, so that he could once again serve his country. Assigned to the 8th Communication Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he was deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On May 5, 2007, Palmer was killed while acting as a Gunner on a Humvee that was struck by a roadside bomb.
Palmer’s name will be displayed on the windshield of McDowell’s No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will mark the Memorial Day weekend by paying tribute to military men and women who gave their lives for their country.
“It’s very impactful when you meet some of the moms and dads and brothers and sisters of a fallen soldier,” McDowell said. “You build a relationship with them. It’s not just a shake of the hand and ‘thank you’ for their sacrifice. You spend real time and get to know them, and it makes an impression and an impact.
“I’m looking forward to meeting Cpl. Palmer’s family and, as a team, showing them how grateful we are for his sacrifice and for their sacrifice.”
In addition to Palmer’s name on the windshield, the Dockside Logistics Ford will have patriotic accents added to its paint scheme for the Memorial Day weekend and NASCAR’s “600 Miles of Remembrance” tribute. The Coca-Cola 600 airs Sunday on FOX at 6 p.m. ET.