If you caught our post last week, then you know we were in Indianapolis over the weekend, taking in the NASCAR experience, as part of Crown Royal’s “Capture The Crown” program.
Capture The Crown is a weekend-long scavenger hunt, taking place during Kroger Super Weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), where five teams of bloggers (myself included) competed for an all-expense paid trip to New York for the 2014 Super Bowl…
My team included Tracy Pendergast, Nick Evans (StraitPinkie.com) and Brett Singer (DaddyTips)… all good people who competed up until the very end. The competition itself included a list of tasks such as capturing a photo of a fan in Crown Royal purple, playing “corn hole” with tail gaters, and getting a Big Machine Label Group artist to retweet you, to name a few.
However, we finished at a close second in a down-to-the-wire race that was so much fun.
Overall, it was an experience like no other. When not running all over IMS, trying to complete tasks with my teammates, we were offered a V.I.P. experience of NASCAR — including Pacecar rides, a tour of the pit garages, up-front access to country star Justin Moore’s performances, and access high above the speedway in Crown’s Pagoda suite to take in the Brickyard 400 race.
Aside from the fun the weekend offered, one of its biggest highlights — and the reason we were all there — was Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, which honors an everyday hero — whether it be a police man, fire fighter, or military personnel, for example — who is crowned the weekend’s big race namesake.
After weeks of fan voting, it was Kentucky-bred Marine, Samuel Deeds, who won… and was treated like royalty throughout the festitivities, culminating with his name etched into history, as the Brickyard 400’s namesake: The Samuel Deeds 400.
Deeds was deserving of the honor as well, for his courageous actions in serving his country in the military. While deployed in Iraq in 2005, he 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 before recovering. Three years later, while still recovering, his instincts kicked in when he saved the lives of three individuals caught in a rip tide off the coast of North Carolina.
Still, the modest Deeds doesn’t view himself as the hero he’s been touted as, but rather a regular guy doing his job. “I’m not a hero, I was doing my job and protecting my Marines,” he said in an interview, over the weekend, with Yahoo! Voices’ Art Eddy.
As far as winning the Brickyard 400’s namesake, the NASCAR die-hard called it a dream come true… but, again, didn’t take all the honor on himself. Instead, he mentions the Marines he fought alongside.
“It was a dream, it wasn’t really happening. It was a very emotional day,” Deeds told Yahoo! “I looked back at the guys that I served with that are no longer with us and thought that there is no better way to honor them. My name may be on the race, but this is for all of them.”
All weekend, Sam was treated like a rock star. He was ushered around like a celebrity, stopping to sign autographs, hanging and chatting with NASCAR’s biggest names, being brought on stage during introductions and country star Justin Moore’s concert, and participating in some of IMS’ traditions, like “kissing the bricks.”
The program couldn’t have been given to a better person, though the four other finalists were deserving in their own rights, all of whom were flown in to enjoy the experience as well — including Deputy Marshal Stephen Brady, American Widow Project founder Taryn Davis, firefighter Kenneth Kurth, and LAPD officer Deon Joseph.
We want to extend a big thank you to Crown Royal for the hospitality, and an extra special shoutout to the team at Taylor Strategy, who made sure my experience was the best during the entirety of the trip… including our team coach Zack Nobinger!! Thanks man!
Until next time…