By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
Photo Noah Watts/Myracenews
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rolls to Jennerstown Speedway on Saturday, May 29, all cars in the field will carry the name of a fallen hero who lost their life serving the United States in war, to honor Memorial Day weekend.
As part of the Jennerstown Salutes 150, presented by DGV, two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore will have the honor of carrying the name of Air Force Staff Sergeant David A. Wieger, who passed away in 2007. For his efforts in war, Wieger was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He lost his life following an incident where his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
“It’s an amazing program that the JDV Productions team and NASCAR have come up with for this event,” Justin Bonsignore said. “To pay honor to everyone that has paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, on Memorial Day weekend, it’s special. NASCAR always does a good job of saluting the troops and honoring the freedoms that we have in our country. It’s a really special program. I’m excited to have SSgt Wieger’s name on our Kenneth Massa Motorsports car and I’m excited to give his family something to enjoy and cheer for on the track. Hopefully, they’ll be cheering us along to a win.”
Wieger worked as a Technical Services Agent at AFOSI Det 303, at Travis Air Force Base in California. He entered the Air Force in 1999, and was recruited to join the AFOSI’s Tech program in 2004. After completing his training, he was assigned to the California base.
The Whelen Modified Tour race at Jennerstown, promoted by JDV Productions, will be worked in combination with Operation Vet NOW Inc. (OVN), a non-profit organization established to reduce veteran suicide and improve the overall wellness of veterans, regardless of era served, through innovative outreach experiences. 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 heal their mind, body and soul. The race day will feature special appearances from Gold Star Family members — including grand marshals, an honorary starter and more. All of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars will feature a fallen hero’s name on their car during the race. JDV Productions will donate $1 from each ticket sold to OVN to continue to increase awareness and assistance for veterans. A discounted general admission ticket of $27 will be offered for Active Duty Military and Veterans.
“These special tributes to our fallen heroes are so important to the Gold Star families, friends and fellow veterans they served with,” Tony Aubrey, of OVN, said. “On May 29, we will host the family of SSgt David Wieger — and all of us at OVN are honored to have them at this important event. SSgt Wieger and all of the military members represented on this night gave their lives for this country, and we owe it to them and their families to ensure their story and legacy lives on. All of us at OVN are dedicated to this mission.”
Aubrey, like many others in the racing community, is thankful for the opportunity to honor those we have lost, especially in one of the biggest events of the season. With a 14-event schedule set for the Whelen Modified Tour in 2021, the Jennerstown stop marks the fourth race of the year — with three different winners in the first three races. The entry list is expected to be strong, with a good car count and impressive Modified talent, including Bonsignore and Craig Lutz, the two drivers to win at Jennerstown in 2020.
“The entire OVN team salutes JDV Productions and NASCAR for allowing us the opportunity to this elevated platform, to ensure more Americans know our fallen heroes names and stories,” Aubrey said. “All of us at OVN are appreciative. Beyond words.”
As part of a one-day show, the Jennerstown local Late Models and Modifieds will also join the action. Practice begins at 2:45 p.m. for local divisions, with the only Whelen Modified Tour practice of the day set from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole qualifying, which will be single-car time trials, is set for 5:45 p.m. Following tour qualifying, local divisions will race, and the green flag in the Jennerstown Salutes 150, presented by DGV, will drop at 7:30 p.m.
General admission tickets are $30 for adults, with advance tickets now on sale at JDVProductions.com. A discounted ticket of $27 will be offered for Active Duty Military and Veterans. Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the race. Pit passes will be sold at the track only and are also available to the general public. There are no capacity restrictions in place for the event. The race will also air to a live audience on NBC Sports Gold through their TrackPass platform.
For more information on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, visit nascar.com. For more information on JDV Productions, visit JDV Productions on Facebook and follow at JDVProductions.com.