Tony Stewart, who is preparing for perhaps the most important race of the year for his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet on Saturday night, took time Thursday to reflect on the events of September 11, 2001. NASCAR will pay tribute at Richmond International Raceway this weekend to the heroes who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack on America.
Stewart, who will be driving his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet with a special paint scheme honoring the heroes of 9/11, needs a solid run Saturday night in the Wonderful Pistachio 400 to secure a place in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. The field will be set after the Richmond race and Stewart is not yet locked in the field.
“I remember the morning of Sept. 11 waking up to a phone call, somebody said, ‘You need to turn the news on.’ I said, ‘Which news?’ They go, ‘Doesn’t matter.’ And you quickly realize why it didn’t matter, because every channel had it on,” Stewart related. “I was lying in bed, and I never got out of bed till six in the evening watching what was happening in disbelief. I just could not believe that our country had come under attack like that.”
“I think the reason it’s so important to remember that day,” Stewart continued, “is because this is a country where we pride ourselves on freedom, and a group of terrorists tried to take that freedom away from us, and we need to remember the heroes and all the people – the firefighters, the policemen, the citizens – that tried to help during the attacks. You don’t want people to forget that. As time goes on the wounds heal in our memories, but you don’t want to forget the memory of those people who worked so hard and tragically lost their lives, either working in the towers or the firefighters and policemen who tried to save those people that needed rescuing. It’s very important for our nation not to forget the past and remember the people who were involved.”
SHR driver Ryan Newman will honor the U.S. Army personnel killed in the 9/11/01 attack on the Pentagon. In observance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the names of the 75 victims will be included on Newman’s car at Richmond. The No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet will also carry an inscription, “We Will Never Forget” and sport a specially-designed logo featuring the World Trade Center twin towers, Pentagon and the American Flag.
“I am deeply honored to have the 75 Army personnel who were killed on 9/11 at the Pentagon to ride along with me at Richmond this weekend,” Newman said Tuesday.
Danica Patrick, who will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in February, will also have a special paint scheme on her No. 7 GoDaddy.com/GetYour.NET Chevrolet in the Nationwide race on Friday when she takes the green flag for JR Motorsports.
Fans attending the Sprint Cup race, ABC-TV and MRN Radio broadcasters announcing the race, and the track announcer all will go quiet for a moment of silence from Laps 9 through 11 at the .75-mile oval. The three-lap moment of silence, in which all fans attending the race also will wave American flags, is the culmination of many 9/11 tributes and patriotic activities being planned by NASCAR race tracks, teams, sponsors, licensees, drivers and fans in special recognition of the anniversary.