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NASCAR honors fallen heroes including Richmond native at Coca-Cola 600

Posted at 9:23 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 21:43:47-04

Richmond, VA - For the sixth year in a row during the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR honored veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice with the 600 Miles of Remembrance.

It's a program in which each driver carries the name of a fallen soldier on his car in honor of Memorial Day.

Erik Jones, who drives the #20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, had the name of PFC Leslie Jackson, a Richmond native and a graduate of George Wythe High School who was killed in Iraq back in 2004 by an IED while returning to base in Baghdad.

"So cool to be honoring her," Jones said. "Obviously Leslie made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in Iraq. So really cool to have her on the car. I hope I get the opportunity meet her family here in the future."

Participating in the program has a special meaning for Jones, who last year had the name of his great uncle, who was killed during WWII on his car during this same race.

"It's been really neat," Jones said. "So cool to be honoring these families, fallen soldiers and people who have sacrificed for our country. The Coca Cola 600 has just been a cool race over the last few years with it being on Memorial Day. I think we all kind of enjoy what it brings for us."

Jones has not had the chance to meet Jackson's family yet but hopes that his chance will come soon.

"I hope we get the chance to chat, whether it be in person or over the phone, to spend a few minutes talking with them," Jones said. "You can't really ever pay them back for what they gave for us but it's the best way we can do to honor them this weekend."