The life of a Springfield Veteran will be honored and remembered this Memorial Day weekend during the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Sunday, the NASCAR pace car that helps pace the field on the green will bear the name of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan who took his life while defending his country on Thursday, July 16, 2015, during the attack on the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to a release from NASCAR.
Sullivan grew up in Springfield’s East Forest Park neighborhood, attended Holy Cross School, and graduated from Cathedral High School, NASCAR said.
He served in the United States Marine Corps for 18 years and was last assigned to Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Corps Reserve, according to the release.
In honor of Memorial Day weekend, all NASCAR Cup Series drivers will replace their names on car windshields along with deceased service members – an annual tradition known as 600 Miles of Remembrance, it said of NASCAR.
The tradition of remembrance is part of “NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola” program. It celebrates the service and sacrifice of U.S. service members and their families throughout Military Appreciation Month, NASCAR said.
The race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC will begin at 6 pm, according to the NASCAR website. The race will consist of 400 laps and 600 miles.