The trucking industry will be front and center during the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at the Michigan International Speedway Saturday, Aug. 21, as well as at other NASCAR races during August and September.
Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) will be a featured brand on the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, part of the JR Motorsports race team, during the Aug. 21 event. In addition, TMAF’s mascot, “Safety Sammy,” will be in the grandstands from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to greet fans before the race.
Pilot Flying J has been a sponsor of JR Motorsports No. 1 for five consecutive years. The No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet is driven by Michael Annett. According to a statement from Pilot Co., Annett has a special place in his heart for the transportation industry. Because his father was chairman of TMC Transportation, Annett says he knows first-hand how important trucking is, and he can appreciate the challenges of being a “pro” behind the wheel.
On Aug. 21, the car will feature the TMAF logo and the #ThankATrucker campaign social media hashtag to support education about the trucking industry and demonstrate support for America’s 3.6 million professional truck drivers.
“Presenting the #ThankATrucker message on The Pilot Flying J Chevrolet is a new and exciting opportunity to spread the industry message of essentiality on a national stage,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF, former chair of the American Trucking Associations, and vice president of sales and governmental affairs at Martin Transportation Systems.
“We thank Pilot Flying J, one of TMAF’s first and most steadfast financial supporters since our launch, for providing TMAF with the opportunity to expand our reach and show why it’s important to show gratitude for America’s truck drivers,” he said.
Since TMAF’s inception in 2013, Pilot Flying J has contributed a total of $3 million to the organization. In addition, Wendy Hamilton, senior manager of operations and support for Pilot Co., serves as a TMAF board member. This year, Pilot Flying J is donating $150,000 to TMAF in addition to the in-kind sponsorship of the TMAF branded No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet.
“The men and women of the trucking industry are heroes. They are the heartbeat of our supply chain, and we are thankful every day for their dedication to delivering the goods that we all depend on,” Hamilton said.
“Pilot Flying J is grateful to TMAF for shining a light on the importance of professional drivers and the industry,” she continued. “We are proud to showcase how essential trucking is by bringing TMAF to the track on the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet and hope it helps raise appreciation for all that professional drivers do to keep the country moving.”
In addition to the race car wrap, two billboards, visible from both east- and westbound lanes of U.S. 12, will promote Safety Sammy’s appearance at the Aug. 21 event and the #TruckingIsEssential social media campaign.
The Aug. 21 event is the first of five NASCAR races leading up to and including National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 12-18. Pilot Flying J’s No. 1 car will also feature a trucking industry-themed wrap during the following events:
- 28: Daytona International Speedway;
- 5: Darlington Raceway;
- 11: Richmond Raceway; and
- 18: Bristol Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of JR Motorsports, two-time Xfinity Series champion and 15-time NASCAR most popular driver, and the Pilot Flying J team teamed up Aug. 17 to unveil a second trucking-themed wrap; this one will make its track debut Aug. 28 at the Daytona International Speedway.
“At JR Motorsports, we know the importance and value of our nation’s truck drivers. Our drivers travel the country to NASCAR Xfinity Series events, and the trailers they carry allow us to do our job on the track each week,” Earnhardt said. “We join Pilot Flying J in thanking all the men and women who keep our country moving every day. Take the time today to #ThankATrucker.”
Featured on the hood of the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet is the saying, “If you’ve got it, a trucker brought it,” and #ThankATrucker is emblazoned across the rear of the car.
During the unveiling event, Steve Vanderink, vice president of regional sales for Pilot Flying J, expressed his appreciation to the trucking industry and to the drivers who keep it rolling.
“Pro drivers have carried us through this past year, delivering food, supplies and medicines around the country. They have been our heroes during the pandemic,” Vanderink said. “We hope this Driver Appreciation month will help raise awareness of their sacrifices and inspire all of us to celebrate what they do.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.