When tens of thousands of race fans visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one of NASCAR’s biggest races of the summer, one name will stick out among the rest. Come race day, not only will fans recognize the name within the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 race title, but they will also understand the reason why Jeff Kyle is being honored as an American hero.
Today in his home state, during a special reveal event at the Texas Rangers game, Kyle was announced as the winner of Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, which awards naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to a deserving hero. As the program winner, Kyle’s name will be incorporated into the official race title, Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard.
Kyle, of Lorena, Texas, was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Africa while serving in the military for eight years. During his time with the 3rd Marine Division, Kyle received the Navy Achievement Medal for leading the first Marine detachment to transport a nuclear submarine through hostile waters.
After leaving the military, Sergeant Kyle has dedicated his life to helping his fellow servicemen and women through his tireless efforts to bring awareness to veterans’ needs. Kyle advocates for veterans across the nation and provides support through his involvement with a handful of organizations.
A board member of the Guardian For Heroes Foundation, Kyle oversees the stewardship of the charity which provides free, in-home fitness equipment, health club memberships, personal training, life coaching and support for the disabled. He also plays a large role with American Valor, the foundation which runs the memorial benefit to honor his brother, CPO and U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. In addition, Kyle is one of the founders of Texas Elite Tactical Academy and trains individuals about firearms safety through his passion to educate those in a safe environment.
“Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m deserving of this recognition,” said Kyle, of being named the winner of the 2015 “Your Hero’s Name Here” program. “My true service to this country didn’t begin until I got out of the military and I’m proud to be in the position I am.”
Today at Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, over 29,000 fans witnessed the announcement of Kyle as the 2015 “Your Hero’s Name Here” winner as the official race logo incorporating his name was unveiled during the pre-game festivities. As Kyle made his way to the mound to throw the honorary first pitch, the logo was displayed across every screen within the stadium.
After the monumental moment, Kyle was greeted off the field by his closest family and friends who surprised him in celebration of the honor, alongside representatives from Crown Royal and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kyle’s wife and parents were in attendance, as well as Kyle’s personal hero and nominator for the program, 2014 “Your Hero’s Name Here” race namesake and Green Beret John Wayne Walding.
“Jeff has made his sacrifice time and time again, whether he’s serving his country overseas, locally or nationally,” said Walding. “After everything he has done living his life for others, having something that is just for him will be really special.”
This will mark the ninth time the Crown Royal brand has awarded NASCAR race naming rights to an adult fan. 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 Kyle, program finalists included: Benjamin Parker, retired Army Staff Sergeant from Cincinnati, Ohio; Hector Manley, community leader from Bonita Springs, Fla.; Brendan Marrocco, retired Army Sergeant from Staten Island, N.Y.; and Margy Bons, founder of the Military Assistance Mission from Phoenix, Ariz.
“Jeff Kyle’s dedication to helping veterans in Texas and across the country is a testament to his selfless nature,” said Matt Pechman, Brand Director for Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. “The race on July 26thwill mark a special event for Kyle as he’ll experience his first NASCAR race in an incredibly unique way – as the namesake!”
As the “Your Hero’s Name Here” winner, Kyle will receive the ultimate VIP race weekend, including garage tours and pace car rides before delivering the trophy bearing his name to the race winner in Victory Lane.
The staff at Flawless Crowns was beyond flattered to receive an invite to attend the festivities this weekend. We look forward to the attending and participating in the #CaptureTheCrown. Cheers!