Story By: KYLE SOUZA / JDV PRODUCTIONS – ATTLEBORO, MA – JDV Productions and Jennerstown Speedway announced on Thursday that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race scheduled for Saturday, May 29, will be titled the Jennerstown Salutes 150 presented by DGV.
As part of a special partnership with Operation Vet NOW Inc., a Memorial Day celebration will take place in Pennsylvania for the fourth race of the Whelen Modified Tour season. The event, promoted by JDV Productions, will remember those lost serving the country in war, while also keeping in mind those who are currently serving, or suffering from effects from war, including but not limited to PTSD, TBI, mental health, and combat and transition stress issues.
The race will include special appearances by Gold Star Family members and will honor a large number of fallen heroes, specifically on each car. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars will each carry the name of a veteran lost in war on the side of their 600-horsepower machines for competition.
“I’m in awe of the sacrifices that the members of our armed forces make to serve our nation, and protect the ideals which this great nation was founded upon. Their bravery is inspiring, and the sacrifice of their families is worthy of our highest gratitude and recognition,” Josh Vanada, founder of JDV Productions, said.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate way to recognize these men and women whose lives have been given in service to our nation than by honoring Gold Star families, just miles from the 911 Memorial, at Jennerstown Speedway, on Memorial Day weekend. I’m thankful to the whole team at OVN for helping us to honor these fallen soldiers, and express our gratitude to their families.”
Operation Vet NOW (OVN) Inc. is a non-profit organization established to reduce veteran suicide and improve the overall welness of veterans, regardless of era served, through innovative outreach experiences. Having started just over three years ago, OVN concentrates on veterans who suffer from the invisible injuries of PTSD, TBI, combat and transition stress issues, and mental health concerns stemming from military service, connecting them to care to heal their mind, body, and soul. As part of multiple efforts, Operation Vet NOW specifically works on a Fallen Heroes project to honor those who have been lost. With each event that they work, OVN incorporates the recognition and tribute to honor fallen heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice. This project will be in action during the Jennerstown race day, as OVN will set up a pop-up tent in the midway and have photos and names of the heroes that are being honored, along with more at the track.
“We have a lot of ties in motorsports,” Tony Aubrey of Operation Vet NOW Inc., a Combat Veteran of over 20 years himself, said. “We know that motorsports is a patriotic industry. Motorsports also has a large number of veterans — all the way from attendance, to participants in the races. We know that when we go to the races, we will find a lot of veterans to connect with there. When Bill Hribar (General Manager at Jennerstown Speedway) reached out and said that JDV Productions wanted to connect, I was happy to take the next step. This should be a great event for us to honor those fallen heroes, their families, and see some exciting racing on the track.”
Although the race day will honor countless lost soldiers, a specific Gold Star family invited to attend will be Michael and Lori Wieger, the parents of Staff Sergeant Air Force member David A. Wieger. A Gold Star family is made up of those who are left behind following the passing of a soldier in war. Special Agent David Wieger was killed in Iraq in November of 2007, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Special Agent Wieger was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster) and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. His family, located about 20 miles from Jennerstown Speedway in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, will serve as the Grand Marshals and Honorary Starters for the race.
As part of the pre-race ceremonies, both the National Anthem and God Bless America will be performed by Felisha Mascinatonio, the daughter of a combat veteran. The Taps Bugle Players from the local American Legion will be in attendance, along with a local Honor Guard. Additional information about the event will be released closer to race day.
JDV Productions, led by Josh Vanada and his team of experienced professionals in motorsports, will return to grassroots short-track racing to promote three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events in 2021. As part of the tour’s 37th annual season of competition, which includes a 14-race schedule in six different states, JDV Productions will promote races in three states — Pennsylvania, New York and Maine. Races at Jennerstown Speedway Complex (May 29), Oswego Speedway (June 12) and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (August 21) will be led by the JDV team.
All three events will be $10,000+ to win for drivers, including the Whelen Winner of the Race bonus award, and each will have a full purse structure throughout the field. JDV is committed to assisting the Whelen Modified Tour group to continue the deep history of NASCAR’s oldest touring series.