November 28, 2011
The dark morning rain clouds did not pose a threat to the massive crowd of NASCAR fans and the 32 Army influencers who came out for the Sprint Cup Series at the Phoenix International Raceway Nov. 13.
Before the green flag dropped to start the 312-lap race, the centers of influnce(COIs) received a tour of pit row and the garage. Then they gathered in the Army hospitality tent to hear about Army opportunities and eat lunch. In addition, No. 39 U.S. Army race car driver Ryan Newman made an appearance and greeted the Army COIs.
As a Veterans Day weekend tribute, the race car's paint scheme featured more than 350
photographs of veterans who served in the Vietnam conflict.
"Talk about inspiration," Newman said. "What a cool way for us to say 'thank you' and honor the
Vietnam veterans. History tells us that many who served in Southeast Asia were not properly
recognized upon their return. It will be a sincere privilege and inspiration for our race team to
have the Army Strong Vietnam Soldiers ride along with me in the Phoenix race."
With the veterans' legacy, Ryan Newman placed 5th in the race which lasted two hours and
forty-five minutes. At the day's end, the Army COIs walked away with an increased passion for
NASCAR and a better understanding about the Army and appreciation for veterans.
"I loved the NASCAR event; the race was very exciting and as the Community Outreach Director for Arizona's Attorney General's office, I connected with other business leaders who are committed to educating and finding permanent employment for our Veterans," said Kathleen Winn, Phoenix Battalion COI. "The event was a wonderful and fun way to learn about the opportunities and priorities of today's Army and to honor our Soldiers."