MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Martinsville Speedway announced Tuesday that actor Gary Sinise will serve as grand marshal for NASCAR's race at Martinsville on April 1.
Marine Cpl. Josh Kerns will wave the green flag to start the 500-lap event.
The money from the concert will go toward helping Kerns a smart home.
Kerns, who is from Ararat, is a triple amputee.
Sinise played Lieutenant Dan in the movie "Forest Gump." He currently stars on CBS' "CSI: NY".
Here is the news release from Martinsville Speedway:
With only 27 days until the headache-inducing, short-track Goody’s® Fast Relief 500 ra¿ce at Martinsville Speedway, Goody’s® announced today that award-winning actor Gary Sinise will serve as the grand marshal; while local hero and wounded veteran Marine Cpl. Josh “J.B.” Kerns will wave the green flag to start the 500-lap event on April 1.
Sinise, currently starring on CBS’ “CSI:NY,” launched the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, a non-profit organization that honors defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities. For more information, go to www.GarySiniseFoundation.org.
Recently, the Gary Sinise Foundation and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (named after a fallen firefighter on 9/11), announced a partnership to build Kerns a “smart home” in his hometown of Ararat, Va., as part of the Building For America's Bravest Program. Throughout the Goody's® Fast Relief 500 weekend, efforts will be underway to raise funds and awareness, including a concert with Sinise's Lt. Dan Band at Martinsville High School on March 31. To make donations to Building For America's Bravest Program, you can go to http://www.garysinisefoundation.org/help_us/donate or https://tunneltotowersfoundation.org/donate_now.aspx.
The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 will be Sinise’s first time reciting the most famous words in racing-“Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”
“The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend is going to be an unforgettable weekend, bringing together the best racing in the world with an amazing effort to help J.B.,” said Sinise. “I am so grateful to Goody’s®, Martinsville Speedway and the community for allowing us to be a part of this weekend.”
Kerns, a long-time fan of racing, will serve as the Goody’s® Fast Relief 500 honorary starter. He was injured in Afghanistan in April 2011 when an IED exploded, costing him both legs and his right arm. Since that explosion, Kerns has endured tremendous pain, having undergone extensive surgeries and strenuous daily physical and occupational therapy in Bethesda, Md.