Coca-Cola 600 Pit Note #6
BAM Racing Unites With Paralyzed Veterans: In an evening press conference, BAM Racing team co-owner Tony Morgenthau, along with NASCAR legend Richard Petty and Paralyzed Veterans of America national president Randy Pleva, announced a partnership between BAM and PVA to raise money for paralyzed veterans.
NASCAR fans can buy a star in this unique public/private partnership of the team to honor a veteran that will be placed on the No. 49 PVA Dodge. The stars will change with each race on the schedule. There are more than 8,500 stars on the car for this weekend's Coca-Cola 600.
In making the announcement Morgenthau noted that this weekend should be honored for what it is: Memorial Day. "There is something else happening this weekend that should be very near and dear to us all," said Morgenthau. "It's the Memorial Day weekend. We need to remember all the guys and women who are currently serving and the veterans who have served. We met Randy [Pleva] at Homestead last year. He kind of told us his story, and what was going on. And it really touched Beth Ann and me greatly. They have done a tremendous amount for America. If you go to the website, http://www.pva.org/, I think you would be shocked at what they are doing and what is going on now. We look at PVA as an investment. Our goal is to get the organization out there. Hopefully, the plan is for them to be on the car for the next 10 years."
Pleva, a paralyzed veteran himself, noted there the organization was founded in 1946 and currently has over 22,000 members. "This is obviously a special weekend for us," said Pleva. "I am really thankful that the PVA helps us out. Tony and Beth Ann came to us and put us on the car for a couple of weeks to see what it would do. We then took it to our board and we felt this was another way we could help get the funds we need to help the veterans that are lying in these VA hospitals. One of our major concerns is health care. This is a very special weekend. It's when we think about the ones that went home before us. The names on the 49 car, the names inside those stars are people that went home before us. Memorial Day is sort of great to have and then again, for a veteran, it's something we all think about. I know we celebrate it once a year, but some of us live it every day. Again, we are very thankful for this."
Richard Petty has become a national spokesperson and honorary co-chairman for the organization. "Last year I went to three or four of the big hospitals for the 60th anniversary of the Carolinas Veterans Association," said Petty. "This is an organization that is not very well known. We are trying to get people to recognize that ‘Hey, we have a lot of veterans.' Those are the people who sacrificed way more than what we ever expected of them. You go in these hospitals and see these kids, and people that have grown older now. Without them doing that job, we wouldn't be here having this, or race or anything else for that matter. Those are the people that really sacrificed so we could do the things we really want to do."
A portion of the money raised will go to the race team to help keep it going and a portion will go to the PVA to support its programs. Stars are $100 for gold and $50 for silver.