America Supports You: NASCAR Fans in California Support Troops
American Forces Press Service
FONTANA, Calif., Sept. 5, 2006 For the sixth time since a California teenager began her quest two and a half years ago to collect and distribute a million thank you letters to U.S. servicemembers, the “A Million Thanks” organization set up its booth at a Nextel Cup NASCAR race.
Rick Lalor, manager of motorsports and events for the Automobile Club, and Shauna Fleming, founder of A Million Thanks.org, stand by Mark Martin's No. 6 Nextel Cup car at California Speedway, Sept. 4. Fleming's A Million Thanks booth at the race collected hundreds of thank you letters for U.S. troops thanks to Lalor's donation of booth space. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
This race was the Sony HD 500 NASCAR Race at California Speedway here over Labor Day weekend. Shauna Fleming, now 17, set up A Million Thanks to collect thank you letters for troops.
The Labor Day weekend race had temperatures over 110 degrees, but hundreds of letters were collected from the thousands of race fans who attended the races.
The booth space, donated by the club that sponsors champion driver Mark Martin's No. 6 car, owned by Roush Racing, allowed Fleming's organization to collect thank you letters at the race.
Rick Lalor, Automobile Club's motorsports manager, is responsible for the A Million Thanks presence at the races. Rick is also a member of the California National Guard.
"It's great having Shauna's A Million Thanks booth with us at the races. It gives race fans a place to say thank you to our troops," Lalor said.
The A Million Thanks booth will collect letters at upcoming drag races in November. Lalor has invited Shauna to bring her booth to the NHRA Winter Nationals in Pomona. The Auto Club sponsors the race, as well as the funny car driven by champion John Force.
A Million Thanks is a member of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, which highlights corporate and grassroots support for U.S. military members and their families.
Shauna was challenged last year by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers to collect 2.6 million thank you letters and e-mails for the troops. She is only 75,000 letters from that goal, which has been nicknamed "2.6 in 2006." Fleming said she expects to reach that milestone very soon.