Special Weekend for Trackhouse, NASCAR & America

Trackhouse Racing

Sunday’s 65th-running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is definitely the longest, often one of the hottest, and probably one of the most important regular-season races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. It’s also a time to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those we honor this Memorial Day Weekend. 

As part of NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola, NASCAR and Coca-Cola will host Gold Star Families during race weekend. Gold Star Families are those who have lost an immediate family member due to active-duty military service. As part of the ceremony, each NASCAR Cup Series car will feature the name of a fallen service member on the windshield.

Master Sgt. Aaron Carl Torian

Master Sgt. Aaron Carl Torian, 36, of Paducah, Kentucky enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman in March 2003. 

The highly decorated Marine and war hero, was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and four times to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While assigned as a Team Chief on his sixth combat deployment, Torian was leading his team during a dismounted patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when he was killed by an improvised explosive device on February 15, 2014.

In high school, Torian was a standout baseball and football student athlete, aiding his earning of a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee-Martin and graduating in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance. Later, completing his master’s degree in Instructional Leadership in 2003.

Through his drive and exemplary performance, he rose with extraordinary speed to one of the top enlisted ranks in the Corps. In 2005 when only 28-years-old, he was named the Second Marine Division’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, following what his commanders called a stellar performance during Operation Phantom Fury. He would earn numerous more awards during his service of the United States. 

Torian was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 60, Site 10582). Torian’s family members plan to attend Sunday’s race. 

Ross Chastain’s No. 1 Jockey/Folds of Honor Chevrolet will feature a hand-drawn design on the decklid. The artwork element was created by Torian’s son, Elijah.

First Lt. Laura Piper

First Lt. Laura Piper, 25, of Venice, Florida was trained as an air operations intelligence analyst with the United States Air Force on her first assignment at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. She was deployed to Turkey in support of Operation Provide Comfort, a mission to provide humanitarian aid and rebuild Kurdish villages destroyed by Iraqi troops. 

Piper was one of 26 people, including 15 Americans, who died April 14, 1994, when two U.S. jets mistakenly fired on two helicopters carrying a United Nations relief mission in Northern Iraq.

In the fourth grade, Piper read in the Stars and Stripes newspaper that the Air Force Academy, her father’s alma mater, was about to begin admitting women. She graduated from Robinson High School in Fairfax, Virginia received an appointment and graduated from the Academy in 1992. 

She was a model cadet: fluent in German and Russian, a champion rugby player and a champion shot putter for the school’s track-and-field team. 

She was the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy to be killed in a combat zone. She is buried near the same Air Force chapel in Colorado where she was baptized 25 years earlier. 

Six of Piper’s Family members plan to attend Sunday’s race as will Freeway Insurance CEO Cesar Soriano whose company is a longtime sponsor of driver Daniel Suárez and Trackhouse Racing. Soriano served with Piper in Operation Provide Comfort and was the driving force behind honoring her Sunday. 

“Laura was a passionate and tenacious leader who represented our very best. We hit it off immediately since we shared a common background of growing up in a military family,” said Soriano.

“Thirty years later, it is especially meaningful and special for me to be able to spend time with her mom, dad, brother, and the rest of her family in Charlotte. I would like to thank NASCAR and Team Trackhouse for letting us honor our fallen heroes.

“Today, her approach toward life is something I continue to strive toward. Every Memorial Day is very personal to me; I deeply reflect on Laura and the friends I served with who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation.”

  • Folds of Honor & Jockey: The NASCAR community and its partners have always supported the United States Armed Forces. The Coca-Cola 600 held on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is no different. Trackhouse team partner and apparel company, Jockey, has collaborated with the Folds of Honor organization to select a fallen soldier’s name to ride along with Ross Chastain during Sunday night’s 600-mile race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. United States Marine Corps Master Sergeant Aaron Torian’s name will adorn the windshield header of Chastain’s No. 1 Folds of Honor/Jockey Chevrolet. 
  • Chastain Media Opportunity: On Wednesday the Jockey driver will be available to the media beginning at Noon at the NASCAR Production Facility, 7550 West Winds Blvd., NW, Concord, North Carolina. Master Sgt. Torian’s wife, Jurley, will join Chastain at the media opportunity.
  • Chastain on Race Hub: The Trackhouse driver will be an analyst on Fox Sports 1’s Race Hub show on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
  • Meet Chastain: On Saturday at 1 p.m., Chastain will appear at Walmart, 5825 Thunder Road, Concord, North Carolina. Wristband required – distribution at Walmart at 9 a.m. day of appearance. Sunday, he will sign autographs at the merchandise hauler located in the Charlotte fan midway beginning at 1:45 p.m. – wristband required.
  • Coca-Cola 600 Stats: The Chevrolet driver has six Cup Series starts in the 600-mile race at Charlotte. In 2022, he led 153 laps and finished 15th, his best result at the mile-and-a-half track.
  • Season Stats: Chastain has earned four top-10s in 13 races so far this season along with 108 laps led. He’s currently 10th in driver points.
  • NASCAR: Full Speed: Catch Chastain in the five-episode docuseries NASCAR: Full Speed on Netflix. The series documented portions of Chastain’s 2023 season on and off the track. All five episodes are currently available on Netflix.
  • Last Weekend at All-Star: The All-Star field had two different tire compound options – hard and soft – in effort to mix the field up for the 200-lap $1 million race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. After the heat races were canceled due to rain, the lineup was set based on the pit stop competition which earned Chastain the seventh starting spot. The Chevrolet driver finished seventh in the exhibition race.
  • 2023 Season Recap: Chastain won at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in June and at the Phoenix Raceway season finale in November. He posted 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in his third fulltime Cup season. The Alva, Florida native finished ninth in points.

Chastain Quotes:

There’s a huge military presence in Charlotte for Memorial Day weekend, what is it like seeing all of that and being around it?

“I don’t think its ever enough. We can always do more but to give the families something to smile about I think that’s what’s so great about live sports is they can just take a couple of hours and watch their car with their family members name on it race and hopefully they can forget about all of the bad in this world for a moment and cheer for a car going in circles. Its as simple as that. Whether we win, lose, crash or whatever, celebrate the fact they’re family members name is on it and be proud of that.”

Growing up was the Coca-Cola 600 a marquee event in your mind?

“Growing up for me it was the Daytona 500 and even the 400 there because we actually went to the July race more than the Daytona 500 because we had plants in the ground then. The World 600, Brickyard 400, Southern 500 and the two Daytona races all stood out to me growing up. And now as driver, they’re still the marquee events in my mind.”

Suárez Notes

  • Meet Suárez Friday at Trackhouse: Daniel Suárez will sign autographs for fans Friday at 2 p.m. at Trackhouse Racing. The event will include a live radio remote, and access to view the Trackhouse shop floor and merchandise shop. The address is 8500 Westmoreland Dr. NW, Concord, NC 28027.
  • Coca-Cola 600: Suárez will drive the No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. This will mark his 10th start on the 1.5-mile oval. 
  • Last Week in the All-Star Race: Suárez started fourth and finished 15th at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in the All-Star Race. 
  • 2023 Coca-Cola 600: Suárez drove from his 24th starting spot to fourth and appeared to be one of the fastest cars on the track until a Kyle Busch spin on lap 177 saw the No. 99 make contact with with the side of Busch’s car causing significant front and underneath damage on Suárez’s car. He never regained the lost pace despite several pit stops to repair the damage. Later in the race, he regained two laps he lost to the leaders and finished on the lead lap in 23rd.
  • Atlanta Victory: At Atlanta, he and runner-up Ryan Blaney were separated by 0.003 seconds at the finish line. It was the fourth-closest finish in series history, and with third-place Kyle Busch just 0.007 seconds behind the winner, it also stands as the closest finish among three cars in the history of auto racing. 
  • Trackhouse Victories: Atlanta marked Trackhouse Racing’s seventh win in the NASCAR Cup Series, and first at Atlanta. Chastain owns four victories, Suárez two and one for Shane van Gisbergen. 
  • Mexico Series Victory: Suárez won the 150-lap Mexico Series race at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Feb. 3. It was his 11th victory. 
  • First Mexican to Win in Cup: Suárez became the first driver from Mexico (Monterrey) to win in the NASCAR Cup Series on June 12, 2022, at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. 
  • International Driver: He is one of six drivers not from the United States to win a NASCAR Cup Series race: Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand), Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada) and Mario Andretti (Italy). Ambrose, Montoya, and Suárez own two victories each.
  • Cup Career Highlights: Suárez owns two victories (Sonoma 2022 and Atlanta 2024) and three Busch Light Pole Awards – Pocono (Pa.) Raceway July 2018, Kentucky Speedway July 2019, and on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 2023. 
  • English is a Second Language: Suárez came to America to race. He did not speak English when he arrived in Buffalo, New York. He is the only Spanish-speaking driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • Suárez Passes Citizenship Test: The Monterrey, Mexico native passed the United States Citizenship test on April 29 in Charlotte and will take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony in the next few weeks when he will become a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States.

Suárez Quotes:

How important is Sunday’s race to you?

“The Coca-Cola 600 is a very special race for many different reasons. We get to remember all the people that have paid the ultimate sacrifice and give us the freedoms we have in the most amazing country in the world. I come from a different country. To come here and enjoy these freedoms, to enjoy what I am able to do, it’s not by magic.” 

Will this weekend mean more to you now that you passed your citizenship test?

“I think so. I have learned a lot during this process and have enjoyed learning about America. I’m proud of Mexico and I am proud I have come to America and enjoyed the opportunities this country has given me. It was a long process but I am very proud and thankful to the men and women who have given their lives to have such a country as this.”

Are you looking forward to meeting fans Friday at Trackhouse?

“My amigos at Freeway Insurance are joining us Friday at the race shop to meet fans and let them get a look at our race shop. I hope everyone can stop by and say hello. We have a lot of fun. Fans bring their kids to these Freeway appearances and I get out a kick out of meeting everyone.”

What is the key to success in such a long race as the Coca-Cola 600?

“First I feel like we had a very fast car there last year before we got some damage. So I am hopeful we can be just as fast this year. As a driver, your goal is to be as fresh at the end of the race as you are at the beginning. That’s important. It isn’t about making it to the end of the race. It’s about being at your best at the end and taking advantage of other drivers who are tired.”

How do you prepare for Sunday?

“As a human being you try and perform at 100 percent the entire time, but when you’re running a marathon, you’re not going to be as strong in the last 30 minutes. That’s normal. Fatigue is setting in, your muscles are tired, you’re running out of fluid, and you’re hungry. Racing is the same way, especially in the Coca-Cola 600. We start running out of energy and you’re mind gets tired after four hours of racing. But I look to this race as a marathon, and you have to be on top of your game for the last part of this race. So, I always try to keep that in my mind when I’m in the car. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

Trackhouse Racing PR

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