John Force to Wheel Commemorative September 11 Car in Honor of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation
Today Lionel NASCAR® Collectables (LNC) announced that reigning NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champ John Force will drive a commemorative Ford Mustang Funny Car during the September NHRA Full Throttle Nationals at Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway.
Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage/Honoring Our Heroes Mustang Funny Car pays tribute to the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. The Honoring Our Heroes Funny Car will help raise funds to build “smart homes” for two of three surviving quadruple amputees of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan –United States Marine Corps Corporal Todd Nicely and United States Marine Corps Corporal John Peck.
“It has been ten years since those terrible attacks in New York City, Washington DC, and in Pennsylvania. I try to thank as many firefighters, policemen and members of our armed forces every chance I get,” said Force. “To be able to race this unbelievable Funny Car is a real honor for me and my whole organization. I want to thank Lionel NASCAR and the Honoring Our Heroes group for giving me this chance to say thank you and to recognize these real American heroes.”
“Having John Force, a 15-time champion, behind the wheel of this car is going to be the ultimate tribute to those like Stephen Siller who lost their lives on September 11, 2001,” said Howard Hitchcock, Vice President of Lionel NASCAR Collectables. “John is a hero to thousands of race fans and his commitment to raise support for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will have a huge impact on the lives of American heroes Todd Nicely and John Peck.”
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is a charitable organization founded in 2001 by the family of Stephen Siller – an FDNY firefighter. Siller was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got the call about the attack on the World Trade Center. When he couldn’t drive his truck through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Siller donned 75 pounds of firefighting gear and ran through the tunnel to the towers to help rescue his fellow Americans. Siller lost his life as a result of his heroic actions.
Through LNC’s partnership with the Foundation, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Castrol GTX High Mileage/Honoring Our Heroes die-cast and associated merchandise will be earmarked for the construction of customized “smart” homes for wounded United States servicemen Nicely and Peck. Both Nicely and Peck are two of only three U.S. servicemen to lose all four limbs in combat and survive.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that John Force is going to honor my brother Stephen and all those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 with this commemorative car,” said Frank Siller, chairman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and brother of Stephen Siller. “To have my brother’s name on that car and John Force behind the wheel is a tribute I can’t wait to see.”
The Castrol GTX High Mileage/Honoring Our Heroes Mustang Funny Car features a silhouette of the Manhattan skyline along with a gold wireframe drawing of the Pentagon on the nose. The victims of Flight 93 are honored on the car’s rear panel, while the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers logo gets pride of place on the hood. The car will race September 15 through 18 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
In addition to the September NHRA races, several of NASCAR’s biggest stars will drive Honoring Our Heroes cars during the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races on Sept. 9 and 10 at Richmond International Raceway.