|Gunnery Sgt. Samuel deeds|
This summer Deeds will travel to one of the country’s most historic tracks, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), not as a fan or employee, but as the race namesake.
On June 27 in his hometown of Erlanger, Ky., Deeds was recognized as the winner of Crown Royal’s “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, which awards one deserving individual naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 28 at IMS. Surrounded by friends, family and Marines, Deeds cemented his place in the NASCAR record books by laying the final brick, engraved with the official race logo, in a ceremonial “Yard of Bricks” at Flagship Park in Erlanger.
While deployed in Iraq, Deeds came across an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a vehicle checkpoint. Upon seeing fellow Marines approaching, he exposed himself to the device, risking his life to save others. He was severely injured and underwent more than 30 surgeries and procedures following the blast. Three years later, while still recovering, Deeds’ heroic instincts took charge once again when he saved the lives of three individuals caught in a rip tide off the coast of North Carolina.
In addition to Deeds’ friends and family, special representatives from Crown Royal, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), and IMS attended the ceremony and spoke of Deeds’ many accomplishments. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch surprised Deeds during the ceremony, appearing on behalf of the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF), and country music star Justin Moore debuted a special song titled “Heroes,” which was penned specifically for the “Your Hero’s Name Here” program.
This will mark the seventh time Crown Royal has awarded race naming rights to an adult fan. After receiving thousands 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. As the winner of the program, Deeds will participate in a VIP race weekend experience, riding in the pre-race pace car, delivering the trophy bearing his name to the race winner in Victory Lane and participating in the “kissing the bricks” ceremony following the race.
Deeds, now retired from his service in the Marines, is a husband and father of two boys. His wife, April, nominated him for the program for his unwavering commitment to his country.
The official race title, Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, will be incorporated into race memorabilia as well as the winner’s trophy. Various events and celebrations will take place leading up to and throughout race weekend to honor Deeds, during which Crown Royal would like to remind adult consumers to please drink responsibly.
Through a partnership with Crown Royal and IMS, country music artists from Big Machine Label Group including Justin Moore, The Cadillac Three, Cassadee Pope and Dustin Lynch, will perform special concerts throughout the race weekend.