Photo credit: @GoodyearRacing
RICHMOND, Va. -- With the calendar set to dig deeper into the heart of spring, certain annual racing traditions associated with the month of May take hold. Goodyear started one of the newest institutions as a simple expression of gratitude and awareness five years ago. Now it's accredited as a nearly seven-figure fundraiser for America's military.
The Ohio-based tiremaker announced Saturday at Richmond International Raceway that the logo for the Support Our Troops Foundation will adorn its racing tires for the fifth straight year in all three of NASCAR's national series. The program will roll out in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 race weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Goodyear's involvement is part of an annual NASCAR industry-wide movement that often reaches its height around Memorial Day and July 4 weekend. In the coming weeks, patriotic paint schemes, military salutes and more details will emerge to raise awareness and support.
"It kind of gains momentum, doesn't it?" said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing. "It's not just the 'Support Our Troops' on the tires, there's logos on the cars and themes by a lot of different people in the sport. It's so good to see all that effort for such a good cause."
Grant helped unveil the new tire design Saturday afternoon with former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth in attendance, accompanied by Toyota Owners 400 grand marshal Dakota Meyer, a sergeant who became the first living Marine in 38 years to receive the Medal of Honor in2011.
Not only does the new tire logo help to generate awareness, it's also raised funds. Grant said that more than $800,000 had been raised to benefit the foundation over the course of the program's existence.
"I think there's certain months and certain holidays that mean certain things, and certain sports and organizations grab on to different things, and fortunately the military is one that's really close to NASCAR that they work with and that people like to help a lot," Kenseth said. "So I think it's cool that Goodyear does their program -- it's certainly something they don't have to do. They've raised a lot of money and awareness."
FULL SERIES COVERAGE
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation