The Victory Weekend team enjoyed their final appearance at a 2016 NASCAR event, with the 400 Ford Ecoboost Championship Race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
Starting on Friday, November 18, the evening began with the first concert on the Victory Weekend stage in the GEICO Campgrounds. Over 800 people enjoyed hearing from Audra McLaughlin and the Jess Zimmerman Band, Victory Weekend performers. The crowd was energized to see their NASCAR racers compete on Sunday, November 20. So, what better way to celebrate than to relax and enjoy music from Audra and Jess!
Then, on Saturday, November 19 at noon, Casey Mears, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of No. 13 Chevrolet SS for Germain Racing, shared as a special mid-day event for the gathered crowd.
The second concert was on Saturday, November 19. The crowd numbered 2,000 as the largest Victory Weekend event at Homestead this year, and the group enjoyed multiple treats during the evening concert. Audra and Jess performed again to warm up the crowd and bring the crowd together for the next day’s race.
Later in the evening, Josh Reaume, NASCAR driver, spoke on the Victory Weekend stage. Josh is a current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, who drives the No. 13 Dodge Challenger and the No. 40 Toyota for MBM Motorsports. Josh also invited a friend of his, Jesse Iwuji, who drives the No. 36 Red List Group Chevrolet in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Both Josh and Jesse shared their hearts and passion for racing.
Before Josh ended speaking, there were a few games and activities, including the generous give-away of a cooking grill given by one of Josh’s sponsors. A very happy racing fan took home something for immediate use.
After Josh and Jesse spoke, Vernon Zook shared with the crowd about the tragic reality that 22 American heroes were resolving their life problems with suicide. To show their gratitude for those who have served our country faithfully, the Victory Weekend tradition of honoring veterans, military personnel, and first responders was an event highlight for both the team and the crowd. The crowd recognized 34 American heroes!
After Audra sang the National Anthem, Vernon shared how American men and women, both overseas and in our country, are currently laying down their lives on the line to protect our freedom. After Vernon spoke to the crowd, a man shared with Vernon the impact Victory Weekend has made. “The man told me, ‘You are doing something that helps us. What you are doing is real, and it is not just lip service and not a hand-out. I really appreciate it!’”
The Victory Weekend team got ready for their third and final evening concert on Sunday, November 20, which was also a celebration for Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Chevrolet SS for the Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Johnson and the No. 48 team have won their seventh NASCAR Championship!! With 200 in attendance, Victory Weekend concluded the weekend with genuine thanksgiving!
Joe Mattis, Director of Marketing and Entertainment with Victory Weekend, commented that the whole weekend was awesome. “The weather was great. I know it is starting to become winter for most of us in the United States, but here in Florida, it was 80 degrees.” Joe further mentioned that he is thrilled for future events. “We know that 2017 is going to be a great year. People are really responding to what has been offered.”
Vernon shared what God taught Him during this Victory Weekend event. “Everywhere we go, there are different groups and a lot of veterans are there. We are talking with these veterans who are really struggling.” Vernon also mentioned that Victory Weekend’s future partnership with Homestead will truly “grow into a great opportunity. Our first time there was last year, and we received a great response from the crowd, last year and this year.”
Both Vernon and Joe thanked Miami-Homestead track for having Victory Weekend and the excellent team who helped make the events possible. “We had a really good, stress-free, teamwork event that made for a pleasant experience.”
Victory Weekend wishes you a fantastic Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Stay tuned with what new opportunities in 2017 are ahead for Victory Weekend!
Photos courtesy of Joe Mattis