ERLANGER, Ky., June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While deployed in Iraq, Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds, a diehard NASCAR fan, dreamed of working in the sport after completing his service. In 2005, those dreams took a back seat when Deeds placed himself in harm's way to save the lives of his fellow Marines. 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.
Today 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 July 28th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race 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 own 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), alongside AFF President and Executive Director Patricia Driscoll. Country music star Justin Moore debuted a special song titled "Heroes," which was penned specifically for the "Your Hero's Name Here" program. Consumers 21 and over can visit CrownHeroesSong.com to download "Heroes" for free. For every download redeemed between now and the Samuel Deeds 400 on July 28th, Crown Royal will donate one dollar to AFF.
"I was so fortunate to be part of this program last summer," said Moore. "That experience and the brave men and women I met along the way served as inspiration for this new song. The opportunity to debut 'Heroes' in front of a true hero like Samuel, his friends, family and community, is incredibly special to me as well as all of the folks at BMLG."
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.
"I've been a NASCAR fan for as long as I can remember, so the reality of having my name on a track with such rich history and meaning is beyond words," said Deeds. "I am so grateful to all of those who took the time to hear my story and vote for me. I can't wait to attend the race and dedicate that special weekend to all fellow servicemen and women who put their lives on the line every day."
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.
"We could not be more honored to announce Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds as the 2013 'Your Hero's Name Here' winner," said Abby Wise, Brand Director for Crown Royal. "His sacrifice and continued acts of heroism serve as an inspiration to all of us at Crown Royal and we are proud to provide him with the ultimate race experience at the Brickyard next month."
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.
"It is our privilege to participate in this program with Crown Royal for the second year at IMS," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation COO Doug Boles. "We've been introduced to so many deserving American heroes, and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for Samuel and all other heroes in attendance at this year's race."
Through a partnership with Crown Royal and IMS, country music artists from Big Machine Label Group including Justin Moore, Cadillac Three, Cassadee Pope and Dustin Lynch, will perform special concerts throughout the race weekend.
About Crown Royal
Crown Royal Canadian whisky is the number one selling Canadian whisky brand in the US by value and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal Canadian whisky's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. For more information visit www.crownroyal.com. Crown Royal encourages all race fans to please drink responsibly.
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan's and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.
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About Big Machine Label Group
At the helm of the independent Big Machine Label Group is industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who serves as President and CEO. The conglomerate encompasses Big Machine Records (founded in 2005), The Valory Music Co. (founded in 2007) and Republic Nashville (a partnership with Universal Republic founded in 2009 with Jimmy Harnen serving as President). The Big Machine Label Group's current artist roster includes Multi-Platinum superstars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Reba; Platinum sensations The Band Perry and Florida Georgia Line; Legendary group The Mavericks; Gold-selling artist Brantley Gilbert & Justin Moore; Chart-topping act Eli Young Band as well as Hot newcomers Thomas Rhett, Cassadee Pope, Greg Bates, and RaeLynn. BMLG artists have received multiple GRAMMY, CMA, ACM, American Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, MTV Video Music Award and People's Choice Award accolades as well as Brit Award and JUNO Award nominations. In 2012 BMLG rejuvenated its publishing arm with Big Machine Music, which has created a joint venture with Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald's Prescription Songs, allowing the two companies to co-publish songwriters and artists whose unique talents translate across genres. The label group has also forayed into the racing world, sponsoring the Brickyard 400 as well as back-to-back Indy500 drivers.
About Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the worldwide leader in motorsports entertainment since it opened in 1909. The facility has hosted the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day annual sporting event, since 1911 and also is the site of the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and GRAND-AM Road Racing also will race for the second consecutive year at IMS in 2013.
IMS is the world's largest spectator sporting facility and is the only venue to stage annual races in the IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, GRAND-AM Road Racing and MotoGP.