Six wounded veterans and their guests from Michigan and Northwest Ohio will join Brad Keselowski and his Checkered Flag Foundation for a three-day VIP race experience at Michigan International Speedway June 18-20 as a part of the Race to Recovery program.
CFF has partnered with Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Ann Arbor and Battle Creek to identify and reward service men and women wounded in the line of duty who are working their hardest to overcome the physical and/or mental health challenges they face daily. The honorees will get behind-the-scenes tours in the garage area, a tour of the media compound, meet and greets with drivers and team owners, a special introduction during driver introductions, suite access for the weekend, and more.
To cap off their experience, they will strap in next to Keselowski Monday in a special two-seat race car where he will take them for at-speed laps around Michigan International Speedway. Race to Recovery honorees at MIS include: Brian Jones (U.S. Air Force, ret.), Bob Body (U.S. Army, ret.), Amanda Mikulka (U.S. Army, ret.), Shane Stierly (U.S. Army, ret.), Paul Wanty (U.S. Air Force, ret.) and Ricky Nelson (U.S. Army, ret.).
" I’m very honored to be chosen to do this, especially by the people that I looked up to watching as a young boy and admired their skills as a race car driver," said Jones, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and who has been an avid NASCAR fan his entire life. "It’s pretty cool that they are honoring my commitment to our country. I truly appreciate being a part of Brad’s R2R."
“I can't wait to meet these brave men and women and show them some of the ins and outs of NASCAR,” Keselowski said. “It's only because of the sacrifices of people like Brian, Amanda, Shane, Ricky, Paul and Bob that I have the opportunity to do things that I love like drive a race car for a living. To be able to give back just a little bit to them and their families means a lot to me."
According to Sarah Nowitzke, Seamless Transition Program Manager for OEF/OIF/OND combat veterans at the Ann Arbor VA hospital, the experience of attending an event with other veterans who have gone through similar circumstances can have a positive impact in the recovery process.
"Attending the race is an amazing opportunity for our newest returning combat veterans," Nowitzke said. "Not only does it recognize the honorees for striving forward, this type of activity promotes healthy living and family and community reintegration. People can laugh, eat, watch the race, and have a good time --all of which are important in recovery."
In addition to the six Race to Recovery honorees, another 20 veterans and their guests will join the honorees to watch either the Saturday or Sunday race in the CFF at-track suite. These individuals will also receive garage and pit tours, meet-and-greets with drivers and team owners, recognition in at-track events and race programs, and more.
Checkered Flag Foundation PR