“FOLDS OF HONOR AND QUIKTRIP HAVE JOINED FORCES TO ENLIST THE GREAT PATRIOTS OF THE NASCAR NATION TO HELP FUEL THE DREAMS OF FAMILIES OF FALLEN OR DISABLED UNITED STATES MILITARY HEROES.”
It’s the 13th lap. 13. The number of times an American Flag is folded before being presented to the family members at the burial of a fallen service member.
The cars race past and the fans know it’s time.
They stand with a hand in the air, raising their blue folded flags, paying tribute to the ones who have sacrificed for our freedom.
This is the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Unlike any other race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, this is a race driven by a mission. A mission to honor the sacrifices of our fallen and disabled service members, by fueling the dreams of their legacies.
QuikTrip, a Tulsa-based convenience store company, and Folds of Honor first connected in 2011 when Folds of Honor Founder, Major Dan Rooney and QuikTrip’s Controller and Vice President for Accounting, Marc Delametter, met on a flight from Tulsa to Chicago.
While Major Dan Rooney and Marc Delametter were arranging a meeting to turn the idea of a partnership into a reality, QuikTrip employees had been making it known that they wanted to get involved with supporting the military. QuikTrip has always had a mission to help youth, specifically through education, so when the partnership with Folds of Honor was presented, it was a perfect fit.
The partnership began with QuikTrip donating proceeds from an annual golf tournament benefitting Folds of Honor. Soon after, it was a percentage of proceeds from the QT Kitchens sales and then a percentage of specialty-cup proceeds going back to Folds. It has since then evolved into something even more amazing…the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race.
When the opportunity for QuikTrip to sponsor the 2015 race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) came about, they did something rare and pretty extraordinary. They turned away from the status quo of saturating their name in the sponsor-driven sport, as many other businesses do, and instead chose to highlight Folds of Honor.
From the name of the race to the logo and pretty much everything at the speedway, QuikTrip put Folds of Honor at the forefront. And that is because the objective of the race was never to grow the name of QuikTrip, but to get national exposure for Folds.
It was decided that this race would have just two goals:
1. Tell America the story of Folds of Honor
2. Be the most patriotic race in NASCAR history
And there’s no doubt about it… the mission was accomplished.
Awareness skyrocketed and for the first time in Folds of Honor history, the number of scholarship applications outpaced the funds available to be distributed to these deserving families!
The patriotism was astounding. From the flyover at the beginning of the race to the 13th lap and beyond, QuikTrip made certain that everyone in attendance knew that this race was about Folds of Honor and the Red, White, and Blue!
Even the trophy given to the race winner encompassed the very essence of patriotism.
From the replica M61 “Vulcan” Cannon at the center of the trophy, a beacon of strength symbolizing the steadfast resolve of our Armed Forces to vigorously defend our nation against all threats, to the Folded Flag serving as a solemn reminder of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, every piece of the trophy is tied to the military.
QuikTrip continues to excel and succeed in the raising of awareness and cultivating a profound sense of patriotism at the race, but for Mendi Parker, QuikTrip’s Manager of Store Marketing/PR and Events, the true accomplishment is found in the stories of families that they serve.
“For me, personally,” Parker said, “it’s getting to meet the recipients. It’s hearing the stories of these families, these kids, and seeing what they’ve overcome and how they’ve pushed through. It makes me want to do what I can to help them achieve an education and pursue their dreams.”
Since the first race in 2015, QuikTrip continued to support Folds of Honor through the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race in 2016 and will again support Folds through the race this year.
This year’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race will be taking place at the Atlanta Motor Speedway March 3rd-5th. The pre-concert will feature country music artist, Josh Turner, and reality TV Star and Atlanta native, Ty Pennington, will be serving as the Grand Marshal for the race.
Folds of Honor is honored that QuikTrip has and continues to stand with us on the mission to change lives. No words will ever be able to express our gratitude.