News & Media

NASCAR to salute NOSC Lehigh Valley sailors at Pocono

June 07, 2012, Official Release,

NASCAR will honor Lehigh Valley sailors representing the U.S. Navy Operational Support Center on Sunday at Pocono Raceway through an initiative called "Troops to the Track," which invites active duty, wounded warriors, veterans and military families to races throughout the year for NASCAR-style VIP experiences. The program is part of the "NASCAR Unites -- An American Salute" patriotic initiative involving the NASCAR community and fans during a six-week summer period between Memorial Day and Independence Day weekend to support U.S. military families.

'An American Salute'

NASCAR Unites is celebrating America and supporting U.S. military families.

This weekend, NASCAR will host 20 sailors and their families for a daylong interactive at-track experience, including a meet-and-greet with Sprint Cup Series drivers, special invitation and recognition at the drivers' 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 also will be doing their part on the track, as three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart, as well as Paul Menard, 15th in points, will be adorning "An American Salute" paint schemes on their race cars. More on the patriotic initiative can be found at

NOSC Lehigh Valley maintains the highest rate of readiness in order to provide mission-capable units and individuals to the Navy and Marine Corps team throughout the full range of operations through peace and war. The sailors represent a wide range of military service from seven to 20 years and many whom have served in the Arabian Gulf, Japan, Kuwait, Africa, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan.

Some of the sailors and other honorees attending Sunday's race include:

-- Lt. Cmdr. David Levy, accompanied by wife, Ilse Levy, and daughter, Nicole. Levy has served 20 years in the military, including deployments to the Arabian Gulf and Japan with the U.S. Navy as a tactical coordinator, navigator and weapons training instructor. He currently provides training and administration through the NOSC to Selected Reservists to enable them to be mobility ready. The veteran intends to pursue a career in the aviation or aerospace industry following his service in the military. Levy's favorite driver is Stewart and Pocono will be his first NASCAR race.

-- Petty Officer John Veina, accompanied by wife, Jennifer. Veina joined the Navy in 2005 and served in Kuwait from 2008-09 as a law enforcement officer for the Military Police. In that time, Veina received the Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. His favorite NASCAR drivers include Sterling Marlin and Kasey Kahne; Veina watched his first NASCAR race years ago at Dover International Speedway.

-- Technician Joseph Mahaffey, accompanied by wife, Maria. Mahaffey served in Iraq with the U.S. Navy as an aviation technician and is Surface and Aviation Warfare certified. The 18-year veteran is a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

-- Technician Thomas Burseth, accompanied by son, Brian. Burseth is a Surface Warfare electronics technician with the U.S. Navy and has served 10 years in the military, including more than four years active duty. He was awarded the Naval Reserve Force Mid-Atlantic Junior Sailor of the Year award in 2011. Burseth is a fan of Earnhardt Jr. and recalls the first time he heard the engines fire up at a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway as a favorite NASCAR experience. Burseth intends to pursue a Master's degree and continue in higher education in the aerospace field with the hopes of becoming a professor.