If there is one thing that cannot be denied, NASCAR’s effort to show its gratitude towards the United States Armed Forces goes beyond what many traditionally expect.
The pageantry the sport displayed featured everything possible in a nearly one-hour-long ceremony before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. From helicopters, a 21-Gun salute, and thousands marching – NASCAR gave the sport and fans a chance to show their admiration for those in uniform.
Following NASCAR’s 600-miler, Live Fast’s B.J. McLeod met with a few members of the United States Marine Corps in the garage area. McLeod then took the time to autograph a set of the special Goodyear tires that teams ran during the race.
The interaction was caught on camera by Live Fast.
Post race, @bjmcleod78 meets members of the @USMC and signs their tires! #NASCARSalutes | @CLTMotorSpdwy pic.twitter.com/cJXj1tTSgU
— Live Fast Motorsports (@teamlivefast) May 31, 2021
McLeod can be heard in the video discussing his appreciation for the soliders’ service to the country, complimenting their dedication and courage.
“I’m beyond appreciative of the Men and Women that have served and are currently serving,” McLeod said to TobyChristie.com. “It is unreal the amount of courage those guys have. Because of what they do, we’re able to do what we do. The freedoms we have aren’t free. Racing on Sunday was dedicated to the service they provided this country and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The No. 78 Mustang carried the name of SP5 Alton Reese Roberts, a Purple Heart recipient of the United States Army. The connection to the team runs deeper than many may think. Roberts is considered an adopted uncle to team co-owner Matt Tifft’s wife Jordan. Roberts lost his life in the Vietnam War after his helicopter was shot down in South Vietnam, at the age of 19.
As if the patriotism of Live Fast couldn’t be amplified anymore, the designer of the No. 78 for Charlotte was David Marrero, a member of the United States Military.
“To honor and remember the fallen on a national audience was the highest point on Memorial Day weekend,” Marrero told TobyChristie.com.
Marrero started with the US Navy as a gunners mate in 1992-1996, before joining the Marine Corps infantry from 1997-2001. Following that, he spent time with the Florida Army National Guard from 2003-2018 infantry with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Fast forward to today, Marrero is with the Army Reserve as a Staff sergeant with the 623 inland Cargo transportation company.