News & Media

NASCAR, Daytona to host USS Vicksburg families

July 04, 2012, Official Release,

NASCAR will honor families of sailors aboard the USS Vicksburg on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 through a patriotic initiative called "NASCAR Unites -- An American Salute." The family members of sailors aboard the USS Vicksburg will be hosted as part of the Troops to the Track program in partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation.

'An American Salute'

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

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.

While these Navy families from Jacksonville Mayport attend the race, their sailors will be watching the race from the USS Vicksburg while it is currently deployed to the Arabian Sea. NASCAR, the NASCAR Foundation and Daytona International Speedway sent various items for the sailors to use to decorate the ship's mess hall for the NASCAR watch party. After more than 20 years in service, the USS Vicksburg is on its final deployment before the ship is decommissioned in 2013.

The USS Vicksburg is a guided-missile cruiser currently serving in the United States Navy. The ship was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and was first launched on September 7, 1991. The USS Vicksburg found its home in Mayport, Fla., and was finally commissioned on November 14, 1992. During its first voyage, the USS Vicksburg was stationed off the coast of Montenegro to participate in Operation Deny Flight and Operation Provide Promise, serving as a command center. In 2003, she was assigned to Naval Surface Group Two, which was a Destroyer squadron in the Atlantic. On March 14, 2012, the USS Vicksburg embarked on its final deployment as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Twelve, a Navy fleet with the task of maintaining sea control in the Atlantic. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned by March 15, 2013, due to budget cuts in the Department of Defense.

NASCAR drivers will also be doing their part on the track. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick are among the drivers who will be adorning "An American Salute" paint schemes on their race cars. More on the patriotic initiative can be found at