Wounded Army veteran honored in Brickyard 400 title

John Wayne Walding (US Army photo)
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An Army Green Beret will be honored at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month with his name in the title of the Brickyard 400.

John Wayne Walding served 12 years, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He lost the lower part of his right leg in a firefight in 2008. After recovering from his injury, Walding was the first amputee to graduate from the Special Forces Sniper School, completed the Army 10 miler on foot and finished the 2009 Boston Marathon using a hand cycle.

The annual NASCAR race will be officially titled the "Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com."

"The fact that Crown Royal cares enough to say 'thank you' for what I've done is a true validation for my sacrifice," said Walding. "The magnitude of those two words goes above and beyond."

The honor for Walding was unveiled at an event in Nashville, Tennessee, attended by four other finalists in the program, selected from thousands of nominations. Walding was selected by a vote of Crown Royal customers age 21 and over.

Walding says the Brickyard 400 will be his first NASCAR race.

"It's been an honor to welcome so many great American heroes to our events and we're anxious to host John Wayne for a great weekend of racing," said IMS President J. Douglas Boles.

Crown Royal has put a hero's name on the race title for the last three years.