News & Media

NASCAR hosting special guests at Kansas

October 19, 2012, Official Release,

Salute the Troops will honor two fallen heroes; Humanitarian finalist receives VIP trip

Salute the Troops: NASCAR will host two Gold Star families with the Honor and Remember Organization ( at Kansas Speedway this weekend. Each of these families lost a loved one in military service during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On Saturday, NASCAR will welcome the family of U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob L. Butler, who was from Wellsville, Kan., and who served with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment out of Fort Riley. Sgt. Butler died in Iraq in April 2003 and, at the time of his death, became the first Kansas soldier killed in that country.

On Sunday, the family of Cpl. David Unger of Leavenworth, Kan., also will be honored. Cpl. Unger died in action while serving with the U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood.

Humanitarian Award: Michael Jackson, of Duluth, Minn., will receive a VIP experience Sunday as one of four national finalists for the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, given annually to a NASCAR fan that has had an impact on children in the local community.

Jackson is scheduled to participate in a pace-car ride, NASCAR garage tour and a meet-and-greet with Denny Hamlin and other Toyota drivers. Jackson's chosen charity, Starlight Children's Foundation, will receive $25,000 from the NASCAR Foundation.

The national winner, chosen by a fan vote on, will receive $100,000 for his or her charity and be recognized at the awards banquet in Las Vegas in Nov. 30.

The Starlight Children's Foundation improves the quality of life for chronically ill children, including those with cancer, through programming that helps kids cope both in and out of the hospital.

The other national finalists include: Ron Eby, of Windham, Maine; Ali McDonough, of Wilmington, Del.; and Lorri Shealy Unumb, of Lexington, S.C.