NASCAR is a uniquely American sport. Born out of bootlegging stock car drivers trying to dodge the law in prohibition-era Appalachia, the high-speed spectator sport now has tens of millions of fans across the country. Because NASCAR is so tied up in the American identity, it has always been conscious of paying tribute. Whether honoring the military or the innocent folks who sacrificed so much during the 9/11 attacks, the racing giant prides itself on recognizing those contributions.
The official NASCAR Twitter account shared a video today. It saw Senior Advisor Mike Helton reflect on all that has happened in the 20 years since the attacks of September 11.
“In a lot of ways, it’s hard to comprehend that it’s been 20 years. And I’m proud of NASCAR every year around 9/11. The different tributes and the different remembrances that we have,” NASCAR Senior Advisor Mike Helton said. “And every year when 9/11 rolls around, on the 5th anniversary, the 10th anniversary, the 15th anniversary, now the 20th. It’s important for us to resurrect that tribute to military and first responders, and be very meaningful around reminding all of us that was a very tragic, heartbreaking moment. We should never forget it and we shouldn’t forget the ones that suffered that day.”
NASCAR’s Twitter account has even changed its profile picture to a red, white, and blue image that reads “Never Forget – NASCAR Remembers.”
NASCAR to Honor First Responders and Victims Ahead of Richmond Playoff Race on Saturday
The racing association has announced several tributes that will take place before the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway.
The race itself doesn’t get underway until 7:30 p.m. ET. But all day, attendees will have the opportunity to pay their respects at a near 1,000-pound piece of steel that came from the top of the World Trade Center. The piece is on display in the spectator area of the track. The tribute was the direct result of working with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum itself.
There will also reportedly be a parade ahead of the Cup Series playoff race. It will feature a convoy of first response vehicles. Folks will be waving more flags than one can count. And a banner with every single one of the 2,977 names of people killed during the attacks will be unfurled. The Henrico Fire Choir will perform the national anthem.