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Racing series honor veterans for Memorial Day

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While memorial services with wreaths and speeches are typical elements of the Memorial Day weekend, the day designated to honor fallen military members seems to be lost in the noise of many other pursuits. For the families who have endured the loss of a loved one to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, the weekend can be a hollow observance that seems to be more about cooking hot dogs than commemorating heroes. As such, several motorsports organizations are taking time to show their appreciation for veterans and their families by featuring special offers for not only the month of May, but beyond.

MX Sports Pro Racing and the National Promoter's Group recently announced that General Admission tickets for the first two rounds of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, are now available free of charge to military veterans, active-duty members and their families through VetTix.org.

Vet Tix is a national nonprofit organization based in Phoenix that provides free tickets to veterans and active-duty members of the military and their families. The concept of Vet Tix was developed in 2008 by U.S. Navy veteran Michael Focareto. Since then, the organization has given away more than 725,000 tickets to veterans nationwide. All active and retired military veterans can create an account on VetTix.org to receive emails and reminders about when Lucas Oil Pro Motocross tickets become available.

The Red Bull Glen Helen National will take place on Saturday, May 24 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. Opening ceremonies begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, and the first gate drops for 450 Class Moto 1 at 1 p.m. Glen Helen Raceway offers amenities for the entire family, including grandstand seating, food/drink/beer concessions, permanent restroom facilities, handicap viewing and parking, a baby changing station and more. For more information on this event, please click HERE.

The GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic will take place the following weekend, on Saturday, May 31, at the Prairie City OHV Park in Sacramento, California. Opening ceremonies begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, and the first gate drops for 450 Class Moto 1 at 1 p.m. Hangtown offers amenities for the entire family, including grandstand seating, food/drink/beer concessions, permanent restroom facilities, handicap viewing and parking, a baby changing station and more. For more information on this event, please click HERE.

NASCAR will continue its long-standing tradition of supporting the United States Armed Forces with NASCAR: An American Salute, a platform that rallies teams, tracks, fans and partners to collectively honor active and retired service members and military families. NASCAR: An American Salute kicks-off Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 600 and concludes Independence Day weekend at Daytona International Speedway’s Coke Zero 400.

“Honoring our nation’s military is a long standing tradition in our sport,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “The NASCAR: An American Salute platform truly enables us to collectively express our gratitude to the millions of members of the U.S. armed forces and their families for the sacrifices they have made in defending our nation.”

Recognizing the importance of calling attention to the celebration of lives lost and to showing appreciation to the families with a positive message of thanks, a unique alliance is bringing the national spotlight to all of our nation's military fallen and their families. NASCAR together with Honor and Remember, Inc. will create a powerful reminder of the high price of freedom by displaying specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing each of our fifty states throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage.

"Never before have we had such a significant platform to bring this national statement of thanks to all of our Gold Star families who have given everything," stated Honor and Remember Founder George. "NASCAR is creating a means to reach millions with this important message."

The state-specific Honor and Remember flags will be displayed at various locations around Charlotte Motor Speedway, including pit boxes and haulers. Each flag will have a specific personalization, such as "North Carolina Military Fallen Heroes," as a call to remember generations of fallen heroes and their families in that state.

The special Honor and Remember flag display is part of NASCAR An American Salute, an annual industry-wide effort to collectively thank our nation's military and their families for their service and sacrifice. Honor and Remember partners with NASCAR year-round to host and recognize Gold Star families at races throughout the country.

Throughout NASCAR: An American Salute, NASCAR and the Armed Forces Foundation will host military families at each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The service members will attend the race as part of NASCAR Troops to the Track Presented by Bank of America, a season-long program that hosts active duty military, veterans and military families to races across the country for customized at-track experiences.

NASCAR: An American Salute will conclude at Daytona International Speedway’s Coke Zero 400 where all active duty military, veterans and their families can enjoy the Troops Welcome Center Presented by Coca-Cola. The center, which will be located in the midway, will be fully equipped with food and beverages, allowing service members to take a break, meet NASCAR drivers, executives and personalities throughout the weekend. Additionally, The NASCAR Foundation will partner with The Armed Forces Foundation on Operation Caring Classroom, an annual education initiative that increases awareness, appreciation and support among children for military families. The NASCAR Foundation will help compile school kits for 1,750 classrooms across the United States.

Of course, this only begins to describe the many other special events that will be taking place to honor veterans this Memorial Day. Stay tuned to this column for more coverage of one of the most important weekends in motorsports, including continuing coverage of the Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600.

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