Bricks and Bags

Crown Royal Presents…

A couple of weeks ago, Crown Royal announced a multiyear sponsorship agreement to name the annual Sprint Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the “Crown Royal presents ‘Your Hero’s Name Here’ 400 at the Brickyard.” Crown Royal’s move to the Indy race leaves the Richmond International Raceway seeking a title sponsor for its spring race in 2012.

Conversely, Crown Royal’s announcement brought back a flood of happy memories for NASCAR Race Mom. Thanks to an astonishing invitation from Crown Royal, NRM was able to participating in the ‘Capture the Crown’ event held at the Richmond International Raceway last April. Two siblings, Matthew and Daniel Hansen, U.S. Marine twins were the grand-prize winners of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest. That win awarded them with naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, April 30, and officially titled, “Crown Royal Presents The Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400.”

Matthew Hansen lives in San Marcos, Calif., and was chosen from a group of five military finalists who were all nominated by their friends and family for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero. Matthew’s godmother nominated him for amazing service during three deployments to Iraq and for continuing to serve with amazing courage and faith after losing his twin brother and best friend.

Capture the Crown At Richmond

The ‘Capture the Crown’ was a two-day-event held at the Richmond International Raceway during the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” 400 race weekend. The program featured nine online ‘influencers’ competing in team play in a Scavenger Hunt to accomplish tasks for points. The team with the most points would win a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada from November 28-30, 2011 for the “Crown Royal Race Matt” program. They were also awarded a charity donation made in their name to a charity of their choice.

As I ready myself for my adventure to Richmond, Virginia for that special NASCAR Sprint Cup Race, the story of twin brothers Matthew and Daniel Hansen brought to mind three other young men from San Diego’s North County.

Jimmy Lee Beckstrand was an audacious preteen in the late eighties, a year younger than my oldest son Moses and a year older than my youngest Zachariah. I remember the laughter as the three bounded through the doors looking for a drink of water after playing outside in the cul-de-sac for as long as they could under the warm California sun.

On April 29, 2004, during a four-month extension of duty, Jimmy and seven other soldiers from his unit, the 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division out of Baumholder, Germany, were killed when their convoy was attacked and a car bomb exploded near them. Jimmy Lee was just twenty-seven years old and a newlywed. He earned a Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action, and a Bronze Star medal for meritorious service and for his ultimate sacrifice.

Therefore, NASCAR Race Mom is extremely grateful to both Crown Royal and NASCAR for giving America the opportunity to remember and honor the expense our military families pay to protect our rights and freedoms. For several years, Crown Royal has honored the military with this unique manner of recognizing the heroism of each and every service member of our country.

The Capture the Crown Scavenger Hunt required me to speak with and photograph the contest winner, Matthew Hansen; Sprint Cup Driver, Matt Kenseth; Country Western Star, Rodney Atkins; The Crown Royal Master of Whiskey and Lieutenant General Richard C. Zilmer, of the U.S. Marine Corps. ‘Capture the Crown’ activities included a Rodney Atkins’ concert, pace car rides and whisky tasting.

Although it was difficult to choose, Matt Kenseth was my favorite interview. We were able to relate as both our sons are racing in NASCAR developmental series. It was extremely interesting to learn that we shared many of the same views on our son’s progress in their chosen careers.

Although my team did not win the competition, none of the bloggers felt like losers. The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Quoting one of my Crown Royal Hosts, “We at Crown Royal want to encourage people to drink responsibly. We have always represented quality over quantity, and we want to get that message across to fans of NASCAR.” Their motto of “Please Drink Responsibly” was displayed below every official “Crown Royal Presents The Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400” logo.

NASCAR Race Mom is certain that Crown Royal will bring that same dedication to quality to their new ventures at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Coupling Crown Royal’s tradition with the rich racing legacy of the Brickyard promises to make the 15th year for the Cup race at Indianapolis even more spectacular!

Photo Credits:

  • Photo 1 – Bags and Brick – Taken by Ron McQueeney, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Photo 2 – Standing on the grid with Matt and Katie Kenseth and the #17 crew before the start of the Crown Royal Presents The Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 on April 30, 2011 – Taken by NASCAR Race Mom
  • Photo 3 – Inside the Crown Royal Trailer – From left to right: Rodney Atkins, Matthew Hansen, NASCAR Race Mom – Taken by Caitlin Zucker
  • Photo 4 – NASCAR Race Mom in the Matt Kenseth Hospitality Area with Rutledge Wood – Taken by Caitlin Zucker

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