Thursday, August 28, 2008
Over 150 VFW attendees on hand as green flag drops on partnership
NASCAR racing at Phoenix International Raceway may be over two months away, but the spirit of the sport was strong in the Valley of the Sun on Thursday.
Kevin and DeLana Harvick visited Phoenix Thursday with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Commander Glen M. Gardner Jr., as Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), the VFW, and PIR officially kicked off a three-way partnership for the November event weekend at the track. The unique collaboration is celebrating the accomplishments and bravery of current and veteran armed forces personnel within the thrilling atmosphere of NASCAR racing.
Thursday's celebration allowed veterans and current military members to snap pictures with the Harvicks and ask questions of the famed racing couple.
"It’s an honor to be able to give back to a lot of the men and women who serve our country, who let us do what we’re able to do on the weekend," said Kevin Harvick.
The partnership between the three entities will allow a number of local VFW members to attend the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at PIR. The race, scheduled for Friday, November 7, is a fitting meeting time for the veterans given the date’s proximity to Veterans Day.
Building on the existing relationship between KHI and VFW, PIR is offering a special ticket package to the public for the Lucas Oil 150, in which KHI driver and defending series champion Ron Hornaday will drive the VFW-themed No. 33 Chevrolet.
DeLana Harvick focused her message Thursday directly on the veterans and service personnel in attendance, even offering up her view of how the celebratory weekend would play out.
“For us, it certainly gives us a large amount of pride to represent (the veterans), and there’s nothing we’d love to do more than to be able to take the VFW truck to Victory Lane when we’re back out here,” said DeLana. “We certainly couldn’t do what we need to do on a daily basis without all of the sacrifices you’ve made.”
Gardner, celebrating the completion of his first full week as National Commander, was as happy as anyone to ignite the partnership between his organization, the race team, and the race track.
“I think somebody was planning something for us when they allowed us to sign with KHI. It’s been good for the VFW, it’s been good for the young veterans, and for the active duty military that we’re able to bring to the races,” Gardner said.
PIR will celebrate those veterans during pre-race festivities just prior to the Friday event, and there will also be pre-race presence honoring veterans during Sunday's Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil - the semi-final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Fans looking to join in on the excitement are encouraged to do so, as PIR is offering a special ticket package for the Lucas Oil 150. For just $95, ticket purchasers will receive one (1) grandstand ticket to the race, admission to Corporate Village (including food and beverage), and a Craftsman Truck Series pre-race pit pass to be used that day. Ticket package purchasers will also be treated to a question-and-answer session with KHI Nationwide Series driver Cale Gale.
Information on the VFW celebration ticket package can be found online here - in the VFW Racing Package section - or over the phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223).