Rename the Brickyard 400 to honor a deserving hero

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Stands at the Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 11, 1965) – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to make a deserving hero’s dreams come true at NASCAR’s most popular summer race.

Race fans can vote on one man or woman to win Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program. The winner will receive the naming rights to the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24th, 2016.

You can vote for the hero you think is most deserving of the award at CrownRoyalHeroes.com.

Voting runs through June 9, and the grand prize winner will be announced shortly after.

All five finalists will be flown to Indianapolis to attend the race, and the grand prize winner will be provided with an once-in-a-lifetime experience, which will include delivering the trophy bearing his or her moniker to the race winner in Victory Lane!

See below for the contestants’ names and bios.

Chris Mintz

Chris Mintz

Chris Mintz – Former Army Infantryman and Community Hero

Chris Mintz, 30, of Roseburg, Ore. is a former Army infantryman and community hero. On October 1st, 2015 a gunman entered Umpqua Community College and fatally shot an assistant professor and eight students. Mintz, a student at the community college, responded to screams and gun shots coming from an adjacent classroom, using his body to block the connecting door and allowing his class to escape.  He then alerted other students when he was shot five times by the gunman. When medical assistance arrived, Mintz was rushed to Mercy Medical Center where he was told he would have to learn to walk again, but the only thought running through Mintz’s mind was his son who was turning six that day. Today, Chris continues to receive medical treatment and physical therapy for his wounds, but he is back in school at UCC to study marketing and is continuing to work and take care of his son. Driven by his desire to inspire others to always rise to the call of heroism, Mintz intends to use his marketing degree to become a motivational speaker and personal trainer. Although his injuries have disabled him from ever competing again, Mintz continues to train in mixed martial arts in hopes of overcoming his disabilities and instilling his motivation to overcome in others. “I’m just a normal guy who was doing what anyone should,” said Mintz. As a longtime NASCAR lover who hails from Richard Petty’s hometown, Mintz is looking forward to cheering for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400.

Jason Redma

Jason Redma

Jason Redman – Retired Navy SEAL and Founder of Combat Wounded Coalition

Jason Redman, 40, of Chesapeake, Va. is a retired Navy SEAL, motivational speaker, author of The Trident and founder of Combat Wounded Coalition. Redman enlisted in the Navy following high school and served ten years as an enlisted SEAL before enrolling at Old Dominion University. After graduation, Redman was commissioned as a Naval SEAL Officer.  Over his career he served five deployments total including two combat deployments. In 2007, while on an operation in Iraq to capture an Al Qaeda High Value Individual, Redman’s Assault Team came under heavy machine gun fire and he was wounded with shots to the face and left arm. While recovering from his 37 surgeries at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Redman wrote and hung a sign on his door which became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. The original sign on the door now hangs in the Wounded Ward at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda.  Redman was honored with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medals and two Combat Action Ribbons. Following his recovery, Redman founded the non-profit Combat Wounded Coalition and Wounded Wear to help combat wounded warriors overcome the wounds of war.  In 2013, Redman founded his speaking company, SOF Spoken sharing his message of leadership, teamwork, and overcoming adversity to many organizations including the Marriott Corporation, McDonalds, the NFL Cincinnati Bengals, the San Diego Padres and the US Men’s 2010 Olympic Hockey team. Although the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 will be his first NASCAR race, Redman had the privilege of speaking at a NASCAR conference in 2013.

Leigh Ann Hester

Leigh Ann Hester

Leigh Ann Hester Active Army National Guard Sergeant First Class and Police Officer

Leigh Ann Hester, 34, of Murfreesboro, Tenn. is a United States Army National Guard Sergeant First Class and Police Officer in Franklin, Tenn. Since her enlistment in 2001, Hester has been deployed three times – twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. During a deployment in Iraq, Hester and her squad were ambushed (and largely outnumbered) by enemy forces. Hester incapacitated the group of insurgents and successfully maneuvered her squad to safety without any comrade casualties. Her courageous actions make Hester the first female since World War II to receive a Silver Star. Hester has also received a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation medal for her military service. Hester has demonstrated her strong commitment to serving this country as an active National Guard Sergeant, but she has also been a Police Officer with the Franklin Police Department for the last 10 years. As an officer, Hester has a direct impact on her community by keeping it safe and crime-free. Her integral role helps protect the citizens of Franklin and her military experience is an asset to the law enforcement team she works so closely with on a daily basis. “My biggest accomplishment is staying in the service and being a police officer for this long,” said Hester. “It’s not always an easy job to do.” Hester has grown up watching NASCAR and, although she has never attended a race before, is looking forward to making the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 an unforgettable experience.

Michael Gallardo

Michael Gallardo

Michael Gallardo – Retired Army Sergeant

Michael Gallardo, 31, of San Antonio, Texas joined the Army in November of 2004 and was deployed in 2006 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom when his life changed forever. Serving with a reconnaissance unit on Death Row route, named after countless IED-led ambushes, Gallardo’s unit purposely ran over an IED to protect the members of his mission.  After the blast Gallardo noticed his truck commander stuck in the vehicle and tried to free him, severing his Achilles tendon in the process, and causing him to later lose his left leg after 15+ surgeries. After this tragic event, Gallardo’s life came to a halt – he could either turn for the worse or fight through the loss of his limb, PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Fortunately, Gallardo decided to use his passion for physical fitness as a driver to begin training for marathons, triathlons, and an Ironman. When veterans organization Guardian For Heroes stepped in to pay for Gallardo’s gym membership, his love for CrossFit was born. From being told he may never walk properly again to becoming one of the fittest men in the CrossFit world, Gallardo’s determination is that of a true warrior. At a young age, Gallardo’s mother and personal hero taught him to always help people without asking for anything in return in which he lives by this notion every day to honor her memory. Today, Gallardo works with veterans providing counseling and training advice and is active in many veteran organizations and within the CrossFit community. When Gallardo found out he was one of the finalists in the “Your Hero’s Name Here” program he was grinning ear to ear. “I’m honored to show fellow veterans if I can do it, they can do it too.”

Piper Hill Bio Pic

Piper Hill

Piper Hill – Retired Army Captain and Founder of Healing4Heroes

Piper Hill, 45, of Atlanta, Ga. is a retired Army Captain and founder of the charity Healing4Heroes. Hill joined the Army Reserves in 1990 and was an active duty officer from 1995 until 2009, when she was officially retired from the Temporary Disabled Retirement List for injuries that incurred while on active duty. She suffered from PTSD & a brain injury that occurred while serving in the Army.  While recovering, Hill remembers one thing from those years – her dog Valentine, who stayed by her side every day. Hill trained Valentine to become a service dog giving her the strength and endurance to become healthy again. Thus, Healing4Heroes began. The non-profit organization provides trained and free-of-charge service dogs for wounded service members, as well as to those with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other cognitive issues or illnesses.  Hill has provided over 220 veterans with service dogs nationwide and continues to help and provide for veterans every day. Through her initiatives, Hill has established herself as a helper, healer and heroine within the veteran community, changing many lives for the better. “Healing4Heroes is my way of giving back to the incredible soldiers I led and loved,” Hill said. “They have sacrificed so very much to give us this incredible country we are so blessed to live in.” Hill is extremely excited and humbled to be a finalist for the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400, and looks forward to bringing her sister to the big race.