The second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs took place in front of an emotional audience at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
As we all know by now, this Saturday officially marked the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. It was that tragic day that nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. It is without a doubt the single worst attack in the history of the United States.
20 years have since passed since that fateful day. But citizens of the United States will never forget. And neither will NASCAR. This weekend’s Cup Series playoff race in Virginia was dubbed “The Salute to American Heroes 400.” And it featured a multitude of tributes to the many victims of 9/11. One of those tributes was an incredible piece of steel that came from near the top of the World Trade Center. Weighing in at more than, 1,000 pounds, local first responders in Henrico County teamed up with NASCAR to help put the monument on display in the track’s midway spectator area. Fans were able to go in and see it a couple of days prior to the race.
But in typical NASCAR fashion, it was the flyover that stole the show once again. The official NASCAR Twitter account posted a clip from the flyover and the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Take a look down below:
“A beautiful start to the night at @RichmondRaceway” NASCAR captioned the video.
NASCAR Fans Gush Over Organization’s Patriotism
NASCAR has always been a class act. That could not have been more evident than by the beautiful display of tributes to the 9/11 victims on Saturday night. The pre-race festivities had fans pretty emotional on Twitter.
“Thank you, NASCAR for putting this beautiful pre-race show on,” one fan wrote. “No one tops NASCAR!
“BEAUTIFUL tribute!! THANK YOU, first responders!! NEVER FORGET!!” another person said.
And finally, another user on Twitter made a bold claim saying, “NASCAR is the most patriotic sport in America.”
That fan most certainly isn’t alone in thinking that way. As a matter of fact, Garrett Smithley, the driver of the No. 13 Ford Mustang for MBM Motorsports, said almost the exact same thing to Fox News.
“I would say it’s the most patriotic major sporting organization, I would say, in the world,” Smithley said. He also added that it was “a race weekend that I’m never gonna forget.”
“Our family has always been very passionate about the military,” Smithley explained, noting that both of his grandfathers were service members.
In addition to the military flyover, the 1,100-pound piece of steel, and all of the tribute paint schemes on cars, NASCAR also raised more than $120,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation by selling “We Remember” T-shirts.