U.S. Marine Honored as Brickyard Sprint Cup Series Race Namesake (from the mailbag)

Untitled_2Country music singer Justin Moore, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, Armed Forces
Foundation President and Executive Director Patricia Driscoll, Crown Royal Brand
Director Abby Wise, Big Machine Label Group Founder and CEO Scott Borchetta and
Indianapolis Motor Speedway COO Doug Boles pose with Retired Gunnery Sergeant
Samuel Deeds (center), winner of Crown Royal's "Your Hero's Name Here" program,
behind the replica Yard of Bricks in Erlanger, KY, on Thursday, June 27, 2013.
As the winner, Deeds will receive naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2013. 
Photo Credit: Tony
Tribble, AP

While deployed in Iraq, Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds, a diehard NASCAR fan,
dreamed of working in the sport after completing his service. In 2005, those
dreams took a back seat when Deeds placed himself in harm’s way to save the
lives of his fellow Marines. This summer Deeds will travel to one of the
country’s most historic tracks, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), not as a fan
or employee, but as the race namesake.
Thursday in his hometown of
Erlanger, Ky., Deeds was recognized as the winner of Crown Royal’s “Your Hero’s
Name Here” program, which awards one deserving individual naming rights to the
July 28th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS. Surrounded by
friends, family and Marines, Deeds cemented his place in the NASCAR record books
by laying the final brick, engraved with the official race logo, in a ceremonial
“Yard of Bricks” at Flagship Park in Erlanger.
While deployed in Iraq,
Deeds came across an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a
vehicle checkpoint. Upon seeing fellow Marines approaching, he exposed himself
to the device, risking his own life to save others. He was severely injured and
underwent more than 30 surgeries and procedures following the blast. Three years
later, while still recovering, Deeds’ heroic instincts took charge once again
when he saved the lives of three individuals caught in a rip tide off the coast
of North Carolina.

In addition to Deeds’ friends and family, special
representatives from Crown Royal, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), and IMS
attended the ceremony and spoke of Deeds’ many accomplishments. NASCAR driver
Kurt Busch surprised Deeds during the ceremony, appearing on behalf of the Armed
Forces Foundation (AFF), and country music star Justin Moore debuted a special
song titled “Heroes,” which was penned specifically for the “Your Hero’s Name
Here” program. Consumers 21 and over can visit CrownHeroesSong.com to download
“Heroes” for free. For every download redeemed between now and the Samuel Deeds
400 on July 28th, Crown Royal will donate one dollar to
“I was so fortunate to be part of this program last summer,” said
Moore. “That experience and the brave men and women I met along the way served
as inspiration for this new song. The opportunity to debut ‘Heroes’ in front of
a true hero like Samuel, his friends, family and community, is incredibly
special to me as well as all of the folks at BMLG.”
This will mark the
seventh time Crown Royal has awarded race naming rights to an adult fan. After
receiving thousands of entries during the nomination period, five heroes were
chosen as finalists and adult fans had the opportunity to cast their votes for
the person they felt was most deserving of the honor. As the winner of the
program, Deeds will participate in a VIP race weekend experience, riding in the
pre-race pace car, delivering the trophy bearing his name to the race winner in
Victory Lane, and participating in the “kissing the bricks” ceremony following
the race.
“I’ve been a NASCAR fan for as long as I can remember, so the
reality of having my name on a track with such rich history and meaning is
beyond words,” said Deeds. “I am so grateful to all of those who took the time
to hear my story and vote for me. I can’t wait to attend the race and dedicate
that special weekend to all fellow servicemen and women who put their lives on
the line every day.”
Deeds, now retired from his service in the Marines,
is a husband and father of two boys. His wife, April, nominated him for the
program for his unwavering commitment to his country. 
“We could not be
more honored to announce Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds as the 2013 ‘Your Hero’s
Name Here’ winner,” said Abby Wise, Brand Director for Crown Royal. “His
sacrifice and continued acts of heroism serve as an inspiration to all of us at
Crown Royal and we are proud to provide him with the ultimate race experience at
the Brickyard next month.”
The official race title, Crown Royal Presents
the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, will be
incorporated into race memorabilia as well as the winner’s trophy. Various
events and celebrations will take place leading up to and throughout race
weekend to honor Deeds, during which Crown Royal would like to remind adult
consumers to please drink responsibly.
“It is our privilege to
participate in this program with Crown Royal for the second year at IMS,” said
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation COO Doug Boles. “We’ve been introduced
to so many deserving American heroes, and we look forward to rolling out the red
carpet for Samuel and all other heroes in attendance at this year’s
Through a partnership with Crown Royal and IMS, country music
artists from Big Machine Label Group including Justin Moore, Cadillac Three,
Cassadee Pope and Dustin Lynch, will perform special concerts throughout the
race weekend.