Jul 26, 2013, 7:52 PM EDT
We may have been calling this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by its original handle of the Brickyard 400, but indeed, that’s not the official name of this year’s running.
The race will go down as the “Crown Royal presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.” I’ll leave it up to you on whether or not that somewhat cumbersome title will have you buying Canadian whiskey or country music albums.
But there’s one part of the name that’s fully exempt from any sort of snark, and that’s the part involving Deeds, 35, of Erlanger, Kentucky – a former Marine gunnery sergeant who won Crown Royal’s “Your Hero’s Name Here” competition after his wife, April, nominated him for the honor.
Deeds, a longtime NASCAR fan who medically retired from the Corps in 2011, has proven his valor in and out of uniform. In 2005, while serving in Iraq, he found an improvised explosive device (IED) as he was setting up a vehicle checkpoint. With the lives of fellow Marines on the line, he exposed himself to the device in order to save them. He has had many surgeries as a result of the blast but received multiple military accolades for his courage, including a Purple Heart.
Then in 2008, while on a family vacation, Deeds risked his life again to help save three people that got caught in a rip tide off the coast of North Carolina. According to Deeds himself, the harrowing episode came just five weeks after he had gone under the knife for abdominal surgery.
This weekend at Indy, Deeds will enjoy a VIP race experience with many perks: Meet-and-greets with the drivers, participation in Sunday’s post-race trophy ceremony, and kissing the famous Yard of Bricks with the winning team.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen,” Deeds said earlier this week to USA Today. “To give an everyday person the naming rights to one of the biggest races that NASCAR has at one of the most, it not the most, historic track in the world, is amazing.”
This is the second year that Crown Royal has held the “Your Hero’s Name Here” competition in conjunction with the Brickyard 400. Last year’s Cup race at Indy honored Alabama firefighter Curtiss Shaver.
As for who Deeds would like to see triumph on Sunday, he told USA Today that while he likes Kevin Harvick’s “passion for the sport” and Kurt Busch for his extensive work with the military, he thinks his favorite driver on Sunday “will be whoever wins the race.”
Here’s hoping he has a fantastic weekend at the world’s greatest racecourse.
WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Qualifying rules adjustments, Jeff Burton, Top 5 Moments in Bristol
Mar 12, 2014, 3:39 PM EDT
On today’s NASCAR America: *Breakdown of NASCAR’s new qualifying rules adjustments for Bristol race *Jeff Burton live from NBC Sports Charlotte studio, on excitement of racing in Bristol *Top 5 Moments in Bristol
Mar 12, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT
We all know Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights said that second is the first loser. And we also know all about start-and-park and go-or-go-home drivers, as well. But this takes losing – or shall we say, not finishing – to a whole other level (and no, this is NOT a trick question): Which former NASCAR champion holds the record for most last-place finishes in a career?
Mar 12, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT
The World Rallycross Championship (WRC) continues to bag big names to compete on its circuit in the 2014 racing season.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Ken Block has nothing on Mike Ryan. When he wants to do a little drifting – or as most race fans call it, driftin’ — Ryan climbs into his 1,950 horsepower Detroit Diesel-powered Freightliner.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
16-year-old shifts from open-wheel to prototype racing in 2014, under iconic Dyson banner.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT
There’s nothing like racing in front of your hometown crowd to get a driver pumped up more than usual.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Marcus Ericsson seek finishes first in Grand Prix debuts.
Mar 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Minimal 2014 expectations for the team that took the 2013 Australian Grand Prix victory.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Streaming, pre-race shows among the offerings from IMSA ahead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
After brief career detour, Ryan Briscoe looks to deliver with another top-flight chance in IndyCar.
Mar 12, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
One of IndyCar’s most improved 2013 drivers could advance even higher than fifth in points with a few more things turning around.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT
Michael Schumacher’s manager says there are slight signs of improvement.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Third, fourth drivers for teams at Sebring add strength to 12-hour race field.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Sports car racing meets “It’s a Wonderful Life.” With dinosaurs.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT
NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey and Wally Dallenbach discuss the team’s quiet start to the 2014 Sprint Cup season.
Mar 11, 2014, 7:06 PM EDT
Cooling units are now allowed on pit road and cool-down laps on track are banned.
Mar 11, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT
All the notes and numbers to keep in mind going into Thunder Valley.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT
Be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified for access to the Live Extra stream.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT
The saga continues as Smoke and Darrell Waltrip head for Texarkana.
Mar 11, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT
Tennessee’s Butch Jones and Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer will take part in pre-race duties for the Food City 500.
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