In just a few short weeks, racing fans from across the country will flock to Indianapolis for one of NASCAR’s biggest events of the summer. And despite being named the winner of the annual Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, which renames the Brickyard 400 after a deserving hero, retired U.S. Navy SEAL Jason Redman’s name won’t be displayed around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway – for good reason.
Redman instead asked that the race bear the name of the charity he and his wife, Erica, founded. As a result, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race will officially be referred to as the “Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.”
Earlier this week during a special surprise event in Suffolk, Virginia, Redman was announced as the winner of the annual program while completing his 100th skydiving jump. Redman witnessed the reveal of the official race logo, painted in the landing area at Skydive Suffolk, from mid-air as he approached the ground.
After the logo unveiling, Redman was greeted by his wife Erica, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles and Crown Royal Associate Brand Manager Dany Penn. Redman was then escorted to a nearby hangar for a party where he was able to celebrate the announcement with his closest friends, colleagues and family.
“What an amazing and humbling opportunity to have my organization as the official title of the Brickyard 400. This race is an icon of NASCAR, Americanism and patriotism,” said Redman after being named the winner of the 2016 ‘Your Hero’s Name Here’ program. “I can’t wait to arrive in Indianapolis and meet the fellow finalists, the awesome race fans, drivers and crews!”
Redman, who hails from Chesapeake, Virginia, enlisted in the Navy following high school and served 11 years as an enlisted SEAL before enrolling at Old Dominion University. After graduation, Redman was commissioned as a Naval SEAL Officer and served 10 more years. Throughout his career he served five deployments, including two combat deployments.
In 2007, Redman’s assault team came under heavy machine gun fire and he was wounded with shots to the face and left arm. While recovering from his 37 surgeries at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Redman wrote and hung a sign on his door, which became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. The original sign on the door now hangs in the Wounded Ward at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda. Redman was honored with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medals and two Combat Action Ribbons.
Following his recovery, Redman founded the non-profit organizations Combat Wounded Coalition and Wounded Wear to help combat wounded warriors overcome the wounds of war. The Combat Wounded Coalition provides free clothing, clothing modifications and connections to other vetted service organizations for combat wounded warrior needs. To date, the Combat Wounded Coalition has helped more than 500 wounded warriors return to daily life after serving.
This will mark the 10th time Crown Royal has renamed a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, and the first time a race will be named after a charity, through the whisky brand’s “Your Hero’s Name Here” program. After receiving hundreds of entries during the nomination period, five heroes were chosen as finalists and adult fans had the opportunity to cast their votes for the person they felt was most deserving of the honor.
In addition to Redman, program finalists included: Piper Hill, retired Army Captain and founder of Healing4Heroes from Atlanta; Michael Gallardo, retired Army Sergeant from San Antonio; Chris Mintz, former Army Infantryman and community leader from Roseburg, Oregon; and Leigh Ann Hester, Army National Guard Sergeant First Class and Police Officer from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Jason Redman’s perseverance to overcome all of the adversities he faced is truly remarkable. The dedication he has to helping veterans and families is a direct reflection of his generous nature,” said Dany Penn, associate brand manager for Crown Royal. “The race on July 24th will mark an exciting event and first NASCAR race experience for Redman and we can’t wait for him to see his charity’s name in lights at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
As the “Your Hero’s Name Here” winner, Redman will receive the ultimate VIP race weekend experience, including garage tours, driver introductions and pace car rides. He’ll cap off race day by delivering the trophy bearing his charity’s name to the winner in Victory Lane.
“We can’t wait to host Jason later this month at one of the most prestigious events on the NASCAR calendar,” Boles said. “This race has resonated with fans, drivers and teams with how it honors heroes, and this year’s installment is our most special yet with the Combat Wounded Coalition.”