• NASCAR driver and owner Tony Stewart (red shirt) shakes hands and thanks Walter Reed Army Medical Center patient Spc. Kenneth Parker, 25, for his service and sacrifice Sept. 24.

    Tony Steward thanks Spc. Parker

    NASCAR driver and owner Tony Stewart (red shirt) shakes hands and thanks Walter Reed Army Medical Center patient Spc. Kenneth Parker, 25, for his service and sacrifice Sept. 24.

  • Staff Sgt. Santiago Zimbrano checks out the Army Chevy Impala NASCAR racer parked in front of Abrams Hall at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    Army Chevy

    Staff Sgt. Santiago Zimbrano checks out the Army Chevy Impala NASCAR racer parked in front of Abrams Hall at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2009) -- On their way to Dover International Speedway for Sunday's AAA 400, NASCAR drivers made their annual pit stop at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Sept. 24, to thank troops and the families for their service and sacrifice for the nation.

"They are pretty amazing," NASCAR driver Joey Logano said after visiting wounded warriors. "It really puts things in perspective."

Ryan Newman, driver for the Army's team, said every time he entered a wounded warrior's room at Walter Reed, he thanked the warrior "for giving us the opportunity to do what we love."

In addition to Logano and Newman, other drivers who spent time at Walter Reed visiting patients and their families included Tony Stewart (Newman's team owner), Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson, David Ragan, Richard Childress and Joe Nemechek.

Stewart said troops and families he met at Walter Reed "are some of the strongest people" he has ever met.

Montoya and Ragan commented on the positive attitudes of the troops recovering at Walter Reed.

"It's really inspirational," Montoya said.

Newman agreed it was amazing speaking with the wounded warriors, many expressing a desire to get back to their units in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting the war against terrorism.

The classic rock band Foreigner joined NASCAR drivers visiting and honoring troops at Walter Reed. The band also performed during an evening dinner at Walter Reed sponsored by NASCAR.

As NASCAR drivers and executives visited troops in the hospital at Walter Reed during the day, their vehicles were parked in front of Abrams Hall on Walter Reed's main post. People were able to get a close-up look at the glistening rainbow of high-powered vehicles, usually seen as only a blur blazing around asphalt oval tracks in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's 400-mile race at Dover, followed by Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Montoya. Stewart finished ninth, followed by Newman in 10th place.

In the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the Army's former NASCAR driver, Mark Martin, sits in first place, followed by Johnson, Montoya, Kurt Busch, Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Newman, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.

The drivers next take to the track Sunday at the Kansas Speedway for the Price Chopper 400 in Kansas City.

(Bernard S. Little serves as command information officer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16