Fallen Va. service members honored during Sunday's NASCAR race

Published: May. 27, 2016 at 8:31 PM EDT|Updated: May. 29, 2016 at 10:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WWBT) - On a weekend where Americans reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation, America's most popular motor sports organization is honoring those men and women during one of their biggest races of the year.

This Sunday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the windshields of the drivers will feature the names of military service members who died in service to our country.

Among them, several Virginia servicemen, including a sailor who died in the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, will have their names on NASCAR's stock cars.

Sailor Cherone L. Gunn's name will be featured on the windshield of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Fusion, piloted by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Ryan Blaney, during Sunday's Memorial Day weekend 600-mile event.

Gunn was among 17 sailors who died when the guided-missile destroyer they were aboard was attacked while it was harbored in a Yemeni port for refueling.

The 22-year-old sailor is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

In addition, the No. 7 car of Regan Smith with have Lance Cpl. Cody Stevens Childers of the U.S. Marine Corps' name on the windshield. Childers died in August of 2010 during a tour in Afghanistan.

Chesterfield native Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota will have the name of Sgt. John Davis Harvey of the U.S. Marine Corps. Harvey died during Operation Eagle Claw in Iran in April of 1980.

NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 has always been the sport's chance to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces, with special paint schemes for the cars and inviting service members and their families to tour race facilities and get up-close and personal with race cars and the sport.

The race is scheduled to begin around 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

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