Friday, July 4, 2014

2007–2014 Crown Royal
‘Your Name Here 400’ Winners #NASCAR

It is the Fourth of July and NASCAR Race Mom is feeling exhilarated. After all we get to celebrate Independence Day; the day our Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776. Moreover, this day, every year, allows NRM the opportunity to reflect on what makes our country great; the sacrifice of everyday citizens – which in turn creates heroes to be recognized and honored.

NASCAR Race Mom is also very excited that she will be attending the “Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by” later this month. 

Crown Royal has been honoring American Heroes with the naming rights of the Indianapolis Sprint Cup race for the last eight years.

While each of the honoree is special, born on the 4th of July and with a name like John Wayne, this year’s winner could not represent Patriotism more completely. Of course NASCAR Race Mom will be covering all the on-track activities during the race weekend.

However, for now, please read below the short bios on all the past and present heroes honored by Crown Royal

2007 – Sunday, May 6 at Richmond International Raceway*

The 2007 race was titled: Crown Royal presents the Jim Stewart 400

Jim Stewart, 34, of Houma, LA, was selected as the grand prize winner of Crown Royal's "Your Name Here 400" promotion. He attended the race with his fiancée, Lacie Broussard, for an experience of a lifetime.

Beyond seeing his name on everything from tickets to race merchandise, Stewart participated in various race activities, which include a pre-event press conference, attending the drivers' meeting, riding in the pace car, serving as grand marshal, delivering racing's famous command ("Gentlemen, Start your Engines!") and presenting the trophy to the race winner in Victory Lane.

The landmark promotion was conceived by Crown Royal, a product of parent company Diageo . To enter, Stewart submitted his favorite "CROWN- WORTHY" moment to become one of nine finalists, as selected by a judging panel. The finalists were flown to Daytona International Speedway in February, where Stewart was randomly chosen in a drawing. Stewart's winning entry -- one of nearly 15,000 total submissions -- chronicled his moments growing up fishing with his father and later christening his own fishing boat with a toast to his dad.

The 2007 race winner was: Jimmie Johnson

*Race postponed from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon due to rain.

2008 – Saturday, May 3 at Richmond International Raceway

The 2008 race was titled: Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400

Dan Lowry, 29, of New Waterford, Ohio, took part in an elaborate unveiling ceremony in which several helicopters flew high above the Las Vegas Strip to a 10,000-square-foot desert mosaic featuring Lowry's name as part of the official race logo to be used at Richmond International Raceway.

Lowry was one of two winners of the contest that were flown to Las Vegas to participate in the ceremony. While Lowry was awarded the grand prize, Tim Weiland, the first-prize winner of De Pere, Wisconsin, received a custom Stage 1 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang. Crown Royal selected the winners from approximately 10,000 written submissions chronicling consumers' fondest Crown Royal memories that were enjoyed in a responsible manner.

In his winning entry, Lowry recalled a moment when he was working thousands of miles away from home in Venezuela. He wandered into a local restaurant where he didn't recognize any of the labels behind the bar until he caught sight of the iconic purple and gold Crown Royal bag that immediately reminded him of the fond memories of home.

The 2008 race winner was: Clint Bowyer

2009 – Saturday, May 2 at Richmond International Raceway

The 2009 race was titled: Crown Royal Presents the Russell Friedman 400

An elaborate ceremony at Daytona International Speedway® revealed Russell Friedman, a two-time Purple Heart recipient, as the grand-prize winner of the third annual Crown Royal® Presents the “Your Name Here” 400 contest. When Friedman accepted the prize – naming rights to the May 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway – he spoke of how his efforts could not be recognized alone and that it was important to honor all the individuals who serve our country.

Friedman lives in Huntington Station, NY, and was chosen from a group of seven finalists from around the country based on a submission that detailed his experience serving in Iraq.

“Winning the Crown Royal ‘Your Name Here’ 400 contest is absolutely amazing and truly an overwhelming experience,” said Friedman. “Not only do I get to live out one of my dreams, but I get a chance to help recognize all the American soldiers who defend our freedoms on a day-to-day basis and definitely deserve a toast with Crown Royal.”

The 2009 race winner was: Kyle Busch (Busch won on his 24th birthday.)

2010 - Saturday, May 1 at Richmond International Raceway

The 2010 race was titled “Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400”

Heath Calhoun, 30, of Clarksville, Tenn., retired from the Army when he lost both of his legs in an explosion in Iraq. 

For his efforts he received a Purple Heart, as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage.

Calhoun was nominated several times by various friends and family members for his determination and ability to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest despite their injuries.

The 2010 race winner was: Kyle Busch

2011 – Saturday, April 30 at Richmond International Raceway

The 2011 race was titled: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400

Matthew Hansen, 26, of San Marcos, Calif., is a full-time member of the United States Marine Corps. SSgt Hansen joined the Marines with his identical twin brother Daniel after graduating high school.

While supporting combat operations in the Farah province of Afghanistan, Daniel was killed by a roadside bomb. 

When Matthew won the grand prize, he named the race the “Matthew and Daniel Hansen Brothers 400.” to show honor to his fallen twin.

The 2011 race winner was: Kyle Busch

2012 – Sunday, Jul. 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The 2012 race was titled: Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard

Curtiss Shaver, 37, of Troy, Ala. is a certified EMT, paramedic and current Lieutenant of the Troy Fire Department. Shaver was nominated by a fellow firefighter for his commitment and dedication to give back not only to the Troy Fire Department, but to the community as a whole, despite what many would consider a handicap.

At the age of 18, he was involved in a severe farming accident, resulting in the amputation of his left leg. Inspired by the desire to give back to others after being aided by good Samaritans during his accident, Shaver completed extensive rehabilitation and training and was hired by the very same fire department that responded to his farming emergency.

Excited about the opportunity to share the NASCAR experience in Indianapolis with the other four finalists, Shaver views this nomination as a true honor.

The 2012 race winner was: Jimmie Johnson

2013 – Sunday, Jul. 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The 2013 race was titled: Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400

Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds, of Independence, Ky., is a retired Marine whose selfless actions saved the lives of fellow Marines in Iraq. 

In 2005, Deeds came across an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a vehicle checkpoint. When he saw two fellow marines approaching, Deeds exposed himself to the IED to warn them. 

He was severely injured, undergoing 30 surgeries and procedures since then, and has received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

In 2008, Deeds' also saved the lives of three people caught in a rip tide off the North Carolina shore. Deeds has been a NASCAR fan his whole life and shares his passion with his sons Myles and Micah. He calls his wife April his hero for staying by his side.

The 2013 race winner was: Ryan Newman

2014 – Sunday, Jul. 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The 2014 race is titled: Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400

John Wayne Walding, 32, of Little Elm, Texas, served in the United States Army for 12 years with seven of those years being in the 3rd Special Forces Group, completing tours in Afghanistan and Ira.  Despite losing his lower right leg while serving overseas, Walding was the first amputee to graduate Special Forces Sniper School. This decorated veteran was nominated by his brother because of his continued efforts to provide guidance and inspiration to fellow service men and women. 

A big NASCAR fan, Walding has never had the opportunity to go to a race and looks forward to attending the John Wayne Walding 400 in July.

The 2014 race winner is: To Be Determined

Happy Birthday John Wayne Walding. I cannot wait to meet you at your big race. (#reignon @CrownRoyal #nascar #JWW400)

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