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America Supports You: NASCAR Fans Show Support for Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 7, 2006 – NASCAR fans at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard here yesterday said “thank you” to the nation’s servicemembers 400 times in the first 10 minutes after learning how they could use their cell phones to send words of support.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Kurt Busch, driver for the Miller Lite No. 2 car, thanks U.S. troops for their service in an interview at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Aug. 6. Photo by William D. Moss
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Text messaging the word “Thanks” by dialing TXASY, or 89279, is another way for Americans to show support for the troops, said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison.

“It’s just a way to keep reminding our military members and their families that the American people really do support them. No matter what walk of life, no matter what event they’re at, the American people want to say, ‘Thanks,’” she said. “That’s part of the America Supports You program, … to make that connection for our military.”

The text-messaging program is part of America Supports You, a nationwide Defense Department program highlighting grassroots and corporate efforts to support the nation’s servicemembers.

Barber said NASCAR fans love the troops, and the troops love NASCAR. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels took that a step further, saying that motor sports fans in general are very supportive of the military, making the nearly 300,000 NASCAR fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the right crowd to ask for a simple text message of support.

“We get a lot of people and the right kind of people really -- folks who love the country and love those who serve it,” he said. He added that Indiana is especially supportive of the troops. “You get a motor sports fan from Indiana, I guarantee you, you’ve got a patriot.”

The drivers were ready with words of support and encouragement, as well.

“I thank (them) from the bottom of my heart. I know everybody in NASCAR thanks (them) for what (they) do,” Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite car, said. “It allows us to go and have fun at the race track and put on a great race for all of our American fans.”

David Stremme, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light car, has a more personal take on why supporting the troops is important. While driving the Navy’s Busch series car last year, Stremme had the opportunity to meet servicemembers injured while defending the country’s freedom.

“If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do on Sundays or Saturdays,” he said. “Any time I get to see anybody … in uniform, I just go up and tell them thanks for what they’re doing, because I really look up to them.”

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