News & Media


NASCAR to honor Fort Knox military at Kentucky

June 28, 2012, Official Release, NASCAR.com

NASCAR will honor soldiers representing Fort Knox military base on Sunday at Kentucky Speedway through a patriotic initiative called "NASCAR Unites -- An American Salute." As part of the program, NASCAR invites active duty, wounded warriors, veterans, and military families to races for NASCAR-style VIP experiences. The patriotic initiative involves the NASCAR community and fans during a six-week summer period between Memorial Day and Independence Day weekend to support U.S. military families.

This weekend, NASCAR will host twelve soldiers and their families for a day-long interactive at-track experience. The events will nclude a meet-and-greet with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, special invitation and recognition at the driver's pre-race meeting, private tour of the Cup Series garage, pit road access to witness the driver introductions/National Anthem and special seating in the grandstands.

NASCAR drivers will also be doing their part on the track. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Cole Whitt will be adorning "An American Salute" paint schemes on their race cars. More on the patriotic initiative can be found at NASCAR.com/Unites.

The Fort Knox military base uniquely boasts the sole responsibility for all soldier career management, from swearing in to departing service. Its units include Army Cadet Command, Army Human Resources Command, and Army Recruiting Command. These units, along with the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the 84th Training Command, Ireland Army Community Hospital, and other "Partners in Excellence" make Fort Knox the most multi-functional military base in the United States Army. The soldiers represent a wide range of military service from four to 28 years and many whom have served in Afghanistan , Iraq, South Korea, and Germany.

Some of the soldiers and other hon attending Sunday's race include:

--Master Sergeant William Umbleby; accompanied by Colton Umbleby (son): Master Sergeant Umbleby has served for nineteen years in the military, including three combat tours to Iraq. While serving, Umbleby has accumulated many medals, including two Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Medals, eight Army Achievement Medals, and many more. Umbleby is an Everett, Penn., native and his favorite driver is Matt Kenseth.

--Warrant Officer Charles LaFollette; accompanied by Gabriel La Follette (son): Warrant Officer LaFollette has served in the military for the past 28 years in the United States Army Recruiting Command. He has served overseas twice, once in Iraq, and another tour in Germany. LaFollette is an Ekron, Ky., native, and his favorite driver is Jeff Gordon.

--Command Sergeant Major John Morales: Command Sergeant Major Morales has served as an infantryman in the military for 21 years, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has attained many awards, including a Purple Heart, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, and many more. Morales is a Kansas City native and his favorite driver is Matt Kenseth.

--First Sergeant Dennis Palow: First Sergeant Palow has served for eighteen years as an Infantryman for the Infantry Line Company. Palow served in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning a Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and an Order of Saint Maurice. Palow's hometown is Cape Coral, Fla., and his favorite driver is Carl Edwards.

--Staff Sergeant Sarah Gerke; accompanied by Justin Gerke (spouse): Staff Sergeant Gerke has been serving in the military for five years as an Army Technical Engineer. Her unit is in charge of providing survey support to local engineer missions. Gerke served in Iraq, where she earned an Iraqi Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and many others. Gerke's hometown is Boonville, Mo., and her favorite driver is Carl Edwards.