Crown Royal Set To Honor Military Hero At Richmond

By Auto News Log • February 13th, 2010

Race named Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A special patriotic ceremony Friday at Daytona International Speedway revealed Heath Calhoun, a retired member of the Army who lost both of his legs in an explosion in Iraq, as the grand-prize winner of the annual Crown Royal “Your Name Here” 400 program.

Heath Calhoun lives in Clarksville, Tenn., and was chosen from a group of five military finalists who were all nominated by their friends, family and fellow soldiers for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero. Heath’s nomination detailed his determination and ability to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest despite their injuries.

“Words cannot describe what it means to be chosen by the fans for this unbelievable experience,” Calhoun said. “Not only do I get to live out one of my dreams, but I get a chance to represent all the military that serve our country. I look forward to working with Crown Royal in all their efforts to promote responsible drinking to the millions of NASCAR fans, as well as the upcoming race at Richmond International Raceway.”

For his efforts in the military, Calhoun received a Purple Heart, as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage. Once the finalists were selected, their stories were showcased on where, for the first time ever, adult fans were able to choose who they thought should receive naming rights to the May 1 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond.

All the finalists’ stories showcased myriad selfless acts, from saving a boy from drowning to participating in the rescue of the vice president and several senators when their helicopter made an emergency landing. While all were deserving of the prize, Calhoun was selected as the grand-prize winner.

“The Crown Royal team was overwhelmed by the heroism of each and every service member who entered the ‘Your Name Here’ contest, and we are honored to have this opportunity to thank them for their service to our country,” said Rob Mason, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. “We’re looking forward to helping Heath celebrate his moment in the spotlight with all the finalists this weekend — we plan to treat Heath like royalty!”

The ceremony to unveil Calhoun as the winner included driver Matt Kenseth, along with representatives from Crown Royal, Richmond International Raceway and John E. Shockley, USO executive director of the Jacksonville Greater Area.

The Heath Calhoun 400 will be incorporated into all official race logos, used for thousands of pieces of merchandise and recognized by NASCAR’s broadcast and media partners as the race’s official title. In addition, Calhoun will take part in pre-race festivities at Richmond International Raceway and participate in the trophy presentation to the race winner in Victory Lane. During the race weekend, he will receive VIP accommodations for himself and a guest.

“For the past several years, through Crown Royal, we have had very deserving grand-prize winners who have their namesakes on our spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway,” track president Doug Fritz said. “This year is no exception, as Heath Calhoun has demonstrated what it is to be a champion. We are so excited and honored that Heath will be a huge part of our NASCAR doubleheader weekend, April 30-May 1.”

Leading up to the big day in Richmond, Crown Royal will continue to remind fans to “Please Drink Responsibly” through its “Safe Rides Home” designated-driver initiatives and other programming designed to reinforce the importance of drinking responsibly.


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