News & Media

'NASCAR Salutes' to honor Michigan military unit

June 13, 2012, Official Release,

NASCAR will honor soldiers representing the Michigan Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion based in nearby Lansing on Sunday at Michigan International 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 eight soldiers 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.

'An American Salute'

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

NASCAR drivers also will be doing their part on the track as Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Paul Menard will be adorning "An American Salute" paint schemes on their race cars. More on the patriotic initiative can be found at

Michigan Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion has the responsibility of maintaining the personnel end strength goals for the state. Its soldiers perform this mission by recruiting qualified applicants and retaining quality soldiers to ensure units stand ready to defend our local community, state and nation. The soldiers represent a wide range of military service from eight to 18 years and many who have served in Iraq, Kuwait, Germany and Macedonia.

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

-- Sgt. Aaron Gould, accompanied by wife, Staff Sgt. Amy Gould, and son, Justin. Gould has served for 18 years, including 10 in Michigan. This is a first-time NASCAR event for Gould, but his favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Following his military career, Gould plans to teach at a local college and work in the human resources filed.

-- Sgt. Michael Monroe, accompanied by wife, Dawn Monroe, and children Andrew, Trey and Malik. Monroe served in Texas, Arizona, and Iraq with the Recruiting and Retention Battalion. Monroe's favorite driver is Earnhardt and fondly remembers taking his youngest son, Malik, to see pit road last year. Monroe comes from a strong military family, having a grandfather, father, uncles, cousin and sister who have served in the military.

-- Sgt. Jessica Dolph, accompanied by husband, Brian. Dolph has served for 12 years with the Michigan Army National Guard and Retention Battalion. In addition to recruiting, Dolph has served as an ammunition explosive specialist, a combat advisor in Iraq, and as the officer strength manager for the MIARNG Judge Advocate General and Chaplain Corps. Other deployments have taken her to Kuwait, Germany and Macedonia. Dolph's favorite drivers are Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle, and has previously attended a race at Michigan in 2008. Upon completion of her military career, Dolph plans to continue work with the Veterans Administration assisting service members in overcoming emotional and psychological barriers related to PTSD.

-- Warrant Officer Tammie Ochoa, accompanied by son, Joshua. Ochoa has served the Michigan Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion for 14 years. In that time, she has earned many medals, including Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and many more. Although she has never attended a NASCAR event, her favorite driver is Earnhardt. Many others in her family also have served in the military -- her stepfather retired CW% from active duty, her biological father received a purple heart from Vietnam, her brother is a colonel in the Air force and another brother is an E7 in the Army. She lists her favorite NASCAR memory as "when the Guard started sponsoring a car."