NASCAR honors fallen soldiers, families in Coca-Cola 600

With the Coca-Cola 600 falling on Memorial Day weekend, every NASCAR driver will honor a fallen soldier with 600 Miles of Remembrance campaign

John K Harrelson—NKP
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

CHARLOTTE — There is no limit to the amount a fallen soldier should be honored. However, NASCAR is attempting to go above and beyond to make sure these brave men, women and their families are represented on and off the track on Memorial Day weekend.For the last several years, NASCAR drivers have displayed a fallen soldier’s name in place of their own across the top of the windshield for the Coca-Cola 600. Emblazoned with stars and stripes on the side, the names can be clearly read on every car on the night before Memorial Day.Several cars will have names of fallen soldiers submitted by their families with no personal ties to the sport or teams. A few, however, have a special connection to the teams themselves.One case of this is Paul Menard’s car, which will feature the name of Lloyd Harold Tussey. The Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class is the great uncle of Troy Tussey, a shop mechanic on the No. 3 car for Richard Childress Racing, and was killed in the battle at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.Lloyd was aboard the USS Arizona when it was shot down by Japanese war planes. Tussey, who was fascinated by electricity — something his family didn’t have — growing up before joining the military to work as an Electrician’s Mate, was 25 years old and only six months away from being honorably discharged when he was killed.”I wish I had a chance to know him,” Troy said. “My dad was named after him. I was named after him. My son is named after him. We all carry the same middle and last name that he had with pride.”Unlike many of the names on the cars this weekend, Lloyd was also born in North Carolina. The Lexington native had plans to move back to N.C. once he was discharged and hoped to see the world, but never got the opportunity.More than 75 years after his passing, Tussey’s last name is still being carried proudly with Troy’s contributions to a sport that does so much for the military and their families. Simply seeing his great uncle’s name and his own last name across the windshield “Memorial Day has always been just a holiday, but after seeing my namesake on the No. 27 car it makes me realize what my great uncle means to me,” Troy said. “He died serving our country and what a wonderful sacrifice he made.”Prior to the race on Sunday night, Troy plans to honor his great uncle at a special memorial service. Troy will head to Beulah Church, located in Welcome, N.C. — hometown of Dillon and just outside of Lexington — to put a flag out in his honor at the church.The 225-year-old church honors Tussey each year during a Memorial Day service where they have a marker specifically for him. Though his remains were never recovered following the attack at Pearl Harbor, the marker gives Troy and his family a place to remember his life.Troy’s first attempt to have his great uncle’s name on a windshield was denied by NASCAR last season, but he learned more about him than he’d known his entire life prior to the submission. Getting a chance to see his name on the track in a sport he’s poured his life into is even more impactful than he imagined.”I’ve been to the memorial at Washington, D.C. and seen his name among the other fallen soldiers,” Troy explained, “But nothing like this. … Having his name on the track for the Coca-Cola 600 and knowing that I had something to do with it is really special.”