(SOLSBERRY) - Brandon Veatch Brickyard 400 Race could be the name of the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Indianapolis if a rural Solsberry man, who is a former United States Army Special Forces veteran of two deployments to Iraq and a Purple Heart recipient, is the winner of the Crown Royal Hometown Hero Contest.
Nick Schneider of the Greene County Daily World reports that Veatch, a 1994 Bloomfield High School graduate, is one of five finalists in the Crown Royal Hometown Hero Contest.
Veatch, 36, served just over eight years in an U.S. Army Special Forces unit.
On Tuesday he was announced a finalist in the contest that will culminate with the name entitlement to the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.
This week, a hometown hero is being named each day. Voting for the finalists will begin online on May 21 and will continue until June 28.
Veatch was nominated for the honor by Joe Nicholson, of Bloomfield, who submitted a 100-word essay outling Veatch's heroic military service.
In his essay Nicholson pointed out that Staff Sgt. Veatch, a member of U.S. Army Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) unit, was injured fighting off three separate ambushes while intercepting a kidnapping in the streets of Baghdad in September 2004.
The gunfire began at about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2004 and by mid-afternoon the next day Veatch and his soldier buddies had killed seven Iraqi enemy soldiers in three separate ambushes.
After taking a house and setting up a defensive station, the battle continued through the night.
The unit was rescued when a group of armored Bradley tanks moved in to disperse the attackers.
For his heroism, Veatch was awarded a Purple Heart by U.S. Sen. Dan Coats in February 2012 in a ceremony at NSA Crane.
Veatch sustained a back injury during the heated combat exchange.
Veatch is currently an Acquisitions Management Specialist for the Navy at Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.
Nicholson said a film crew representing the Crown Royal Company (Taylor Communications) was in Greene County last Thursday to film at Veatch's home and also in the Bloomfield Town Park in conjunction with a video about the contest finalists.
More than 400 nominations were received.
There is a unique connection between Veatch and the Nicholson family.
Joe's son, Brett, is a race car paint scheme designer and Crown Royal is one of his company's clients. He designed the race logo that will be used for this year's Brickyard race.
"Brandon and I were classmates in high school as well as college and even roomed together a year in college (Vincennes University). This is a great story and Brandon is a great guy. What I believe makes this story even closer to heart is Dad submitted his name, Brandon was picked and I designed the race logo for the Brickyard logo. So if Brandon is selected as the winner, his name will be in the logo I designed. Not sure it gets much better than that all around."
The grand prize winner will get more than their name in lights. They'll get the experience of a lifetime, and a chance to have their inspiring story shared from coast to coast.
The winner will receive:
- Their name on the actual race logo and promotional materials.
- Airfare and accommodations
- VIP pit tour
- Pace car ride
- Victory Lane appearance after the race
Each of the five finalists and a guest will also received tickets to the race; Crown Royal chalet access, infield access, pre-race tour of pit row, round trip coach air travel, double occupancy room for three days/two nights, per diem and ground transportation between destination airport/hotel and hotel/race track.
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