It will be both an emotional and celebratory feel for U.S. Army driver Ryan Newman at this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet will pay tribute to the U.S. Army's 236th birthday and will honor Walter "Bud" Moore, recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and decorated World War II veteran.
Moore was awarded two Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts for his heroic fight as a machine gunner during the historic D-Day allied invasion of France's Normandy coast, which commenced on June 6, 1944.
A photo of Moore as a teenage U.S. Army Soldier will be featured on the rear-quarter panel of Newman's car.
The 86-year-old Moore, who will be at Michigan International Speedway to take part in U.S. Army and track festivities this weekend, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last month for his successful 37-year career as a car owner, which included two Cup championships and 63 race wins.
"You talk about an added incentive, I sure have a few this weekend," said Newman. "To pay tribute to Bud Moore at the race we celebrate the Army's 236th birthday is an immense honor. Throughout the course of American history it's been the Army Strong Soldiers like Bud who have put their lives on the line to protect and preserve freedom. I have personally witnessed our Soldiers' mental, emotional and physical strength and it is truly remarkable."
Newman added, "From the U.S. Army NASCAR team to all the Soldiers past and present, 'Happy Birthday U.S. Army and thank you for 236 years of Army Strong.' "
For the record, the official birth of the U.S. Army was June 14, 1775.
"I am proud to have served in the Army and to be part of NASCAR's rich history," said Moore, a native of Spartanburg, S.C. "It's quite an honor to be included on Ryan's U.S. Army car, especially during the week of the Army's birthday."
While the emotions will be running high for Newman in Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, his main aim is to build on his recent ninth-place finish at Pocono Raceway. The South Bend, Ind. native currently sits in 10th-place in the driver point standings after 14 races.
"We need more consistency as we head into the final 12 races before the Chase lineup is determined," noted the 33-year-old Newman. "We need to continue the Pocono progress and keep on knocking off strong finishes."
Newman has a pair of wins at Michigan (August 2003 & June 2004), but hasn't fared as well in recent years at the two-mile oval.
"I like everything about the Michigan facility, including the natural and peaceful beauty of the surrounding area," explained Newman. "For some reason, we just haven't been able to put it together there in recent times. Our intermediate track program has improved and I am looking for our Army Chevrolet to perform well this weekend."
Newman's record at Michigan includes 19 starts, two wins, four top-fives, four top-10s and one pole. His average start is 11.9 and average finish is 19.6.