Hope for the Warriors partners with Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation and Brad Keselowski Racing to honor local military caregivers at Gateway Motorsports Park 

St. Louis area natives Cindy and Michael Smith, and Melody and Christopher Slusher selected to be honored

 

 Hope For The Warriors will partner with Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation (BKCFF) and Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) during this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park to honor two local military caregivers. The effort will replace the names of BKR drivers Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe over the doors of their trucks with the names of two military caregivers and their veterans for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200 on Saturday night. St. Louis area natives Cindy and Michael Smith, and Melody and Christopher Slusher were selected to be honored on the No. 19 and No. 29, respectively.

“We are proud to partner with BKCFF and BKR in this incredible opportunity to highlight these caregivers and bring attention to military caregivers across the country,” said Robin Kelleher, co-founder and president for Hope For The Warriors. “Nearly 1.1 million Americans care for wounded, ill and injured military service members and veterans of the post-9/11 era, this is part of the total 5.5 million American military caregivers nationwide. These ‘hidden heroes’ include parents, spouses, children, extended family members, friends and battle buddies. They often face significant challenges of their own, such as scattered resources, isolation, poor health and emotional stress, which makes events like this and bringing recognition to this sector of the military population even more important.”

Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring self, family and hope for service members, veterans and military families, is active in NASCAR through their Drive For Hope program. The organization has found that their mission aligns closely with that of Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation, which honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country. Together, the two have joined forces to help veterans secure free orthodontic work, assist transitioning service members, and now, honor military caregivers.

“Brad often says ‘The price of freedom isn’t free,'” said Suzanne Boyd, executive director of Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation. “At BKCFF, we recognize that the sacrifice made by our military members doesn’t stop there. It extends to family and friends, who are often thrust into the role of ‘caregiver’ at a moment’s notice. We are honored to host these two veterans and family members and to highlight the very special role that their caregivers play.”

The organizations are working together to bring recognition to military caregivers to compliment the NASCAR Salutes initiative, which is an industry-wide effort devoted to saluting the men and women who have served our country. Events to recognize members of our Armed Services are planned for Memorial Day through Independence Day.

Caregivers take on the role and responsibility of not only caring for themselves and their families, but also providing physical care and/or emotional support to a wounded warrior. They can include spouses, parents, children, partners, siblings or friends. Cindy Smith and Melody Slusher are just two examples of the individuals that make up this community.

Cindy Smith met her veteran, Michael Smith, Jr., over 25 years ago. They went on their first date on January 30, 2010 and were married just 18 months later on June 17, 2011. With Michael sustaining injuries from an IED explosion in Iraq in 2004, Cindy has been his caregiver their entire relationship. As the saying goes, she ‘knew what she was getting into,’ but Cindy hasn’t ever regretted a minute of their relationship.

Since Chris Slusher was seriously injured in Iraq in 2003, Melody has been both his wife and his caregiver. Together, they’ve spent several years advocating and working to make the path to civilian life an easier transition for the veterans and military families coming after them. Chris works with other veterans in his community, while Melody advocates for veterans and their caregivers within her community and beyond. A veteran herself, Melody is currently enrolled in law school with plans to help veterans when she graduates, and aspirations to eventually run for Congress.

The Smith and Slusher families will be at-track at Gateway Motorsport Park on Saturday afternoon. They will be given a tour of the NCWTS garage and pit areas, have a private meet and greet with the BKR drivers, attend the drivers meeting, and experience the pre-race ceremonies from pit road before watching the race from atop the BKR pit boxes.

To learn more about Hope For The Warriors or find out how you can get involved, visit HopeForTheWarriors.org. Additionally, you can support Hope For The Warriors and its various programs by making a gift online, by phone at 877-246-7349, or by mail to 8003 Forbes Place, Ste. 201, Springfield, VA 22151.

Update: Saturday’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 also has a late entry. Jordan Anderson of Columbia, South Carolina will compete in his No. 1 Chevrolet with sponsorship by the Bommarito Automotive Group (St. Louis). Bommarito also will sponsor GMP’s INDYCAR race in August.

Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 are on sale and may be purchased at the GMP ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888 or online at www.gatewaymsp.com. General admission tickets start at just $36 and kids 15 and under are free (general admission).

 

Official entry list for June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200

0 Jennifer Jo Cobb, Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet

02 Austin Hill, Randco/Young’s Building Systems Ford

1 Jordan Anderson, Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet

4 Christopher Bell, JBL Toyota

006 Norm Benning, Chevrolet

8 John Hunter Nemechek, Chevrolet

110 Bryce Napier, ASAP Appliance Service Chevrolet

13 Cody Coughlin, JEGS Toyota

16 Ryan Truex, Dierberg’s/Bar Harbor Foods Toyota

18 Noah Gragson, Switch Toyota

19 Austin Cindric, Draw-Tite Ford

21 Johnny Sauter, Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet

124 Justin Haley, Chevrolet

27 Ben Rhodes, Safelite Auto Glass Toyota

29 Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Ford

33 Kaz Grala, Kiklos Chevrolet

136 Kevin Donahue, Nano Pro MT/UNOH Chevrolet

44 TBA, Shawn Magee Designs Chevrolet

145 T. J. Bell, Black Riffle Coffee Co. Chevrolet

49 Wendell Chavous, Chevrolet

51 Todd Gilliland, Pedigree Toyota

63 Kyle Donahue, Chevrolet

66 Ross Chastain, Chevrolet

68 Clay Greenfield, 1-800PAVEMENT Chevrolet

183 Todd Peck, Chevrolet

88 Matt Crafton, Menards Toyota

98 Grant Enfinger, Ride TV Toyota

199 TBA, Chevrolet

Last Update: June 13, 2017 — 11:15 a.m. CDT

 

Official entry list for the ARCA Midwest Series Illinois Lottery 40

O4 Natalie Decker, Eagle River WI, Toyota

0 Andy Jones, Gurnee IL, Toyota

2 Gregory Borchardt, Prior Lake MN, Chevrolet

5 John Beale, Verona  WI, Chevrolet

7 John DeAngelis Jr., Hubertus WI, Ford

7 Paul Shafer Jr., Portage IN, Chevrolet

8 Brent Kirchner, LaCrosse WI, Chevrolet

14 Austin Nason, Roscoe IL, Ford

15 Dean LaPointe, Marshfield WI, Ford

18 Michael Ostdiek, Lakeville            MN, Chevrolet

20 Jim Sauter Jr., Tomah WI, Ford

35 Travis Dassow, West Bend WI, Toyota

36 Dan Fredrickson, Lakeville MN, Toyota

39 Andrew Morrissey, DeForest WI, Ford

42 Dennis Prunty, Knowles WI, Toyota

44 Justin Mondeik, Gleason WI, Chevrolet

45 Rich Bickle Jr., Edgerton WI, Chevrolet

52 Ricky Baker, Plainfield IL, Ford

75 Mike Beyer, Machesney Park IL, Ford

77 Jonathan Eilen, Hampton MN, Ford

91 Ty Majeski, Seymour WI, Ford

99 Cole Rouse, Fort Smith AR, Toyota

99 TBA, Toyota

119 Dalton Zehr, Daytona Beach FL, Chevrolet

Received: June 12, 2017 — 1 p.m. CDT

 

Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 are on sale and may be purchased at the GMP ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888 or online at www.gatewaymsp.com. General admission tickets start at just $36 and kids 15 and under are free (general admission).

 

Saturday, June 17 — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 schedule

8:30 a.m. — Spectator parking lots open.

9 a.m. — Spectator gates open.

9 a.m. — Climbin’ for Linemen competition begins (infield).

9:30-10:25 a.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.

11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m. — Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.

1:30-2:30 p.m. — Illinois Lottery 40 ARCA Midwest Tour practice and qualifying.

2-2:45 p.m. — NASCAR driver autograph session (infield, near scoring pylon).

2:30-4:30 p.m. — Free concert by The Band Steele on the midway.

4:45 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 qualifying.

5:45 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 driver introductions.

6:10 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).

7 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 driver introductions.

7:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 (160 laps, 200 miles).

Schedule is subject to change.

 

Twitter hashtag: #D4LM200

 

For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888 or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

 

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, the 1.6-mile Circuit of St. Louis road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.