CONCORD, N.C. (October 31, 2011) – Terry Blanton, an Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force veteran, will be a guest of the Leavine Family Racing (LFR) team at Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Blanton, a native of Bonanza, Ark., was supposed to watch his first race at the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in July. However, like many others, he was stuck in traffic on the interstate before the race and was turned away by state and track officials.
Nobody understands the frustration of not making the race at Kentucky Speedway better than the Leavine Family Racing team. The team was able to successfully fight traffic, only to have the No. 95 machine be turned away by the rain that washed out qualifying. Since the No. 95 AdvoCare Ford competes with a limited schedule, it wasn’t eligible for any of the provisional exemptions into the starting lineup.
A retired Captain, Blanton served for 21 years, including a tour in the Persian Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm and a tour in Afghanistan. Blanton returned from Afghanistan a year ago after suffering a heart attack.
“While in the hospital recovering it was just me and the doctors, so I started watching NASCAR,” Blanton said. “Then I started to see all of the strategy behind the sport and it became intriguing to me. I became a fan for the engineering, the technical aspects and how the team works together.”
“I finally was able to return home, and my wife saw my interest in the sport of NASCAR. She saved up for three months to pay for the whole trip to Kentucky Speedway for my birthday gift – it was a total surprise.”
He shared the experience of attempting his first NASCAR race weekend on a flight from Louisville, Ky., to Dallas to the sympathetic ear of Bob Leavine, the team owner of Leavine Family Racing. They talked about the frustrations of not being at the racetrack at Kentucky on race day – Blanton as a disgruntled fan, and Leavine as a disappointed car owner.
That’s when Leavine invited Blanton to be a guest of the team at Texas Motor Speedway. Having never attended a race before, Blanton will spend the weekend with Leavine Family Racing as an honorary member of the team.
“We are super excited,” Blanton said. “I am very thankful to Bob and his family for this opportunity. We are looking forward to the weekend.”