Goodyear sends ‘thank you’ to military via tires
May 22, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
CONCORD, N.C. -- As NASCAR teams began practice Thursday for Memorial Day weekend racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the presence of several patriotic paint schemes gave the track a red, white and blue feel. But even cars without the colors of the American flag showed their support where the rubber meets the road.
The Goodyear Gives Back campaign began its fifth year of participation in NASCAR's Memorial Day events Thursday, with the logo of the Support Our Troops Foundation adorning the sidewalls of each racing tire used throughout the weekend. The program runs concurrent with the "NASCAR: An American Salute" initiative that raises awareness and support for U.S. military throughout the NASCAR industry.
"It ties in very nicely with our whole culture that's existed since 1948," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. "There's multiple generations of NASCAR industry members, NASCAR fans that all are very adamant about the appreciation that we have for our armed forces and the families of those armed forces over the past, the current and certainly the future ones. There's no better moment to be reminded of the responsibility that we have to remember our soldiers and their families than Memorial Day to kick this off. ...
"It's a big statement. It's a big loud 'thank you' from the entire NASCAR industry to our military members around the world and their families and we're very proud of it."
The initiative is more than just a patriotic gesture: What began as a simple show of thanks to the U.S. military five years ago is now a thoroughly successful fundraiser that has amassed more than $800,000 for the foundation in the program's existence. According to Support Our Troops chairman Martin Boire, the outpouring of contributions has translated to over $30 million in goods and services to the military and their families in just the last two years.
"As the program has evolved, each year more and more people have become involved," said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear. "We had visions of it getting larger but I don't know that we had visions of it getting as large as it has and with as many people coming on board. Any time you do a program like this, you want it to grow and people to embrace it. I think that's exactly what has happened throughout the course of the program in every year."
By visiting Goodyear.com/GivesBack through July 31, fans can make donations and bid on racing memorabilia and experiences in an online auction. Goodyear Gives Back will also have events and displays at Michigan International Speedway on June 13-15 for Father's Day weekend, and at Daytona International Speedway on July 4-5 for Independence Day weekend to heighten awareness.
"When great American companies like this and customers and fans stand up for troops the way they stand up for all of us, it means the world to them when they hear it overseas," Boire said.