DAYTONA, Fla., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A special patriotic ceremony today at Daytona International Speedway® revealed Heath Calhoun, a retired member of the Army who lost both of his legs in an explosion in Iraq, as the grand-prize winner of the annual Crown Royal® "Your Name Here" 400 program.
Heath Calhoun lives in Clarksville, Tenn., and was chosen from a group of five military finalists who were all nominated by their friends, family and fellow soldiers for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero. Heath's nomination detailed his determination and ability to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest despite their injuries.
"Words cannot describe what it means to be chosen by the fans for this unbelievable experience," said Calhoun. "Not only do I get to live out one of my dreams, but I get a chance to represent all the military that serve our country. I look forward to working with Crown Royal in all their efforts to promote responsible drinking to the millions of NASCAR fans, as well as the upcoming race at Richmond International Raceway."
For his efforts in the military, Calhoun received a Purple Heart, as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage. Once the finalists were selected, their stories were showcased on www.crownroyal.com, where, for the first time ever, adult fans were able to choose who they thought should receive naming rights to the May 1 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
All the finalists' stories showcased myriad selfless acts, from saving a boy from drowning to participating in the rescue of the Vice President and several Senators when their helicopter made an emergency landing. While all were deserving of the prize, Calhoun was selected as the grand-prize winner.
"The Crown Royal team was overwhelmed by the heroism of each and every service member who entered the Your Name Here contest, and we are honored to have this opportunity to thank them for their service to our country," said Rob Mason, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. "We're looking forward to helping Heath celebrate his moment in the spotlight with all the finalists this weekend - we plan to treat Heath like Royalty!"
"For the past several years, through Crown Royal, we have had very deserving grand-prize winners who have their namesakes on our spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway," said track president Doug Fritz. "This year is no exception, as Heath Calhoun has demonstrated what it is to be a champion. We are so excited and honored that Heath will be a huge part of our NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend, April 30-May 1."
The ceremony to unveil Calhoun as the winner included NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth, along with representatives from Crown Royal, Richmond International Raceway and USO Executive Director of the Jacksonville Greater Area, John E. Shockley.
The Heath Calhoun 400 will be incorporated into all official race logos, used for thousands of pieces of merchandise and recognized by NASCAR's broadcast and media partners as the race's official title. In addition, Calhoun will take part in pre-race festivities at Richmond International Raceway and participate in the trophy presentation to the race winner in Gatorade Victory Lane. During the race weekend, he will receive VIP accommodations for himself and a guest.
Leading up to the big day in Richmond, Crown Royal will continue to remind fans to "Please Drink Responsibly." through its "Safe Rides Home" designated driver initiatives and other programming designed to reinforce the importance of drinking responsibly.
About Crown Royal
Crown Royal Canadian whisky is the number one selling Canadian whisky brand in the US by value and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal Canadian whisky's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. The Crown Royal Company is a primary sponsor of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion driven by Matt Kenseth. For more information visit www.crownroyal.com.
Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.
Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).
For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com. Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.
About Richmond International Raceway
Richmond International Raceway, known as America's Premier Short Track, offers great night racing action and a commitment to the fan experience. One of the most popular facilities among drivers and fans in all of motorsports, Richmond International Raceway annually hosts two NASCAR Doubleheader weekends featuring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series under the lights on a 3/4-mile D-Shaped oval. The unique layout traditionally produces exciting side-by-side racing, yet drivers reach high enough speeds for a superspeedway feel. Combined with first-class amenities and a focus on the fans, guests at Richmond International Raceway can expect to experience what "Racing Perfection" truly is. For tickets to events at Richmond International Raceway, call 866-455-RACE or visit www.rir.com online.
Tickets are available for the Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, May 1. Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased by logging on to www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).
The weekend begins on April 30, with a full day of on-track activity, including Wawa Pole Qualifying and practice for the Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400, pole qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 race "under the lights." Friday's tickets start at $30.
Richmond International Raceway