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Dover International Speedway dedication in honor of MIA/POW [ #FedEx400 #AutismSpeaks ]

Further to my coverage of Dover International Speedway partaking in the celebrity softball game, that took place about a month ago, wherein Team Dover was victorious against Team Pocono, lots has been happening at Dover International Speedway.

This weekend looks to be an exciting one, with FedEx, Autism Speaks, and Dover International Speedway coming together to build on their solid foundation and work together for the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.”  According to Dover International Speedway’s site, FedEx has been working with NASCAR to build a strong foundation as they are “the primary sponsor of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, driven by Denny Hamlin and fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing. Coach Joe Gibbs, the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, will make an appearance at the event, as well.”

In addition, to the partnership with the charitable initiative for Autism Speaks, Dover International Speedway is set to dedicate POW/MIA National Chair of Honor “One Empty Seat” on Sunday, May, 31.  The chair will be dedicated in honor of POW/MIA as part of the pre-race activities.  What a beautiful follow up to the amazing salute by those at Charlotte last week, wherein Twitter lit up with the hashtag #NASCARSalutes during the Coca-Cola 600.  So often we forget about the soldiers who were left unaccounted and it’s such a wonderful tribute to honor them by dedicating the unoccupied seats.  You will find the commemorative stand, as well as a plaque, mounted in section 103, Row 1, of the Dover grandstands in front of the empty chair,  with a full description of the purpose and expression of gratitude to all who served.

It looks to be a wonderful weekend for race fans, with a full lineup of fan festivities that include the presentation of the memorial by Colonel Len Gratteri who is with the Delaware National Guard in honor of his uncle, Private First Class John Straley, who has been missing in action since January 1964.  In addition, the Rolling Thunder group will also participate in a ceremonial parade lap before that race that will include approx. 150 motorcycles.

“We are pleased and honored to participate in this symbolic initiative,” said Michael Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway. “The POW/MIA One Empty Seat program recognizes the thousands of men and women who have fought courageously for our country, and we know how much this will resonate with our very patriotic fan base here in Dover.”

The effort to dedicate the chair at Dover International Speedway was spearheaded by Patrick J. Hughes, who served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.  Hughes is a member of Rolling Thunder® Inc. National Chapter.  A mission of Rolling Thunder is the POW/MIA National Chair of Honor program, “One Empty Seat,” which aims to place chairs in stadiums across the United States to pay respect to those service men and women who are still missing. 

For race tickets or more information, call 1-800-441-RACE or visit You can also keep up with the Monster Mile at, and on Twitter and Instagram at @MonsterMile. Oh and don’t be intimidated if you are a ‘first timer’ because there is a ‘First Timer’ tab on the site, that is complete with a ‘First Time Race Fan Cheat Sheet’ and lots of information about the Monster Mile, to help ease your way into become a diehard fan!




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Michelle has been a sports writer and analyst for many years. Now, as host of Neutral Court, sponsored by In The Zone, Michelle brings a new sports topic to the debate floor with each episode.
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