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NASCAR honors our nation's veterans

November 12, 2011, ,

Bowyer to run USO "Cheer" paint scheme at Phoenix

The No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driven by Clint Bowyer will carry a special message during the Sprint Cup Series event this Veterans Day weekend at Phoenix. The design features the message "send Cheer" to encourage fans to send thanks and spread cheer to military families whose loved ones are serving our country.

Paying tribute

NASCAR Nation is filled with fans who have served their country and supported the military forces who protect and defend. In this Mission, we invite you to honor U.S. veterans with your photo and video tributes.

The paint scheme is part of a partnership between Cheerios and the USO to help support military families by sending "Cheer" postcards from the front of specially marked packages of Cheerios cereal found in stores through November 2011. People can simply cut out the postcard from the box, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp, and mail the pre-addressed postcard to the USO. The USO will deliver the postcards to military families at events at USO centers across the nation.

"I can't thank General Mills and the USO enough for their support this weekend at Phoenix," Bowyer said. "It's a really cool paint scheme and I'm excited about driving it. I hope it encourages everyone out there to 'send Cheer' to our nation's military families."

Race fans will also be able to send thanks and encouragement at Phoenix by visiting the "Cheer" display located outside the track throughout the entire race weekend. You can fill out a postcard and have it sent to military families by the USO.

Disabled veteran designs No. 38 paint scheme

Front Row Motorsports, J.J. Yeley, and Vampt Beverage Corp. will make a former U.S. Marine's dream come true this Veterans Day when the No. 38 Ford hits Phoenix International Raceway in a paint scheme designed by the disabled veteran.

Scott Bates of Muskogee, Okla., is the artist behind the patriotic paint scheme on the No. 38 Ford. The former Marine took up graphic design when multiple sclerosis left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to use his arms. A head-controlled mouse allows him to operate the program in which he creates his designs. A sensor atop his computer screen picks up his head movements, allowing him to choose colors, shapes, shades and strokes.

"God took away one of my abilities to show me a new way," Bates said about learning graphic design. "I never would have taken the time to learn what I've learned if I hadn't been sitting in this chair and had to retrain myself to do something to occupy my time. I couldn't bear just sitting and watching TV or surfing the Internet. I wanted to do something."

Bates will attend the race as a special guest of Vampt and Front Row Motorsports to see, up close and in person, his dream come true.

"For Scott, I know it's a dream come true," said Yeley, who is a Phoenix native. "It was his wish to get a design on a Sprint Cup car, and to be able to have him do this at my hometown track, it's really special. He's going to come in with his family and it's going to be a huge weekend."

Veterans United using No. 32 to help unemployed veterans

Veterans United Home Loans and Hire Heroes USA are teaming up to spotlight the epidemic of veteran unemployment as Veterans United sponsors the No. 32 car driven by Mike Bliss during the Sprint Cup race at Phoenix.

Veterans United, a company that helps veterans use their VA benefits to buy or refinance homes, will showcase the Hire Heroes USA logo on the No. 32 car owned by Frank Stoddard's FAS Lane Racing to raise awareness and support for this impactful organization, which provides transition assistance and job placement services for returning veterans and transitioning military personnel.

"We hope our continued partnership with Hire Heroes USA raises awareness of the significant employment problems facing our returning service members, who have sacrificed so much," said Nathan Long, CEO of Veterans United.

Military service shaped life, career of crewman Krauch

Charlie Krauch's focus will be on his garage duties with Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith this Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. But Veteran's Day, comrades past and -- especially -- those currently in service to the nation won't be far from the mind of the U.S. Army Vietnam War soldier.

Krauch, the Denver-based team's director of transportation, served as a specialist fourth class with the U.S. Army from 1971-73, maintaining heavy equipment at bases near Hue and later at Da Nang.

Krauch, 59, a native of Hamburg, Pa. now living in Greeley, Colo., is grateful for the positive experiences his military service provided. "It was a job that few people wanted to do but we did it," he said of serving in Vietnam. "Learning a sense of authority was a real eye-opener, how to take [and execute] orders at a young age.

"The whole experience taught me how good we have it here and how to take care of yourself and other people."

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Vietnam veterans honored on No. 39 share stories of service

As owner of Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 Chevrolet it fields in the Sprint Cup Series, Barney Visser knows where his fiercest loyalty lays heading into this race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

But he also admits that he's fully expecting to experience some mixed feelings during this Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at PIR. Although he owns the No. 78 driven by Regan Smith, Visser's photograph will be among the more than 350 photos of Vietnam veterans adorning the No. 39 Chevrolet sponsored by the U.S. Army that will be driven by Ryan Newman.

"We certainly still hope we blow right past him," Visser said. "But this is kind of different. I'll have to go over and see [the No. 39 car] before the race."

As a Veterans Day tribute, the U.S. Army racing cars of Newman in NASCAR and of Tony Schumacher in the NHRA drag-racing series will sport the special paint schemes in honor of the veterans who served during the Vietnam conflict that began 50 years ago.

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