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What’s Happening at Talladega Superspeedway and in motorsports with Gwen DeRu!

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Captain Keith Hoskins
Captain Keith Hoskins

What’s Happening at Talladega Superspeedway and in motorsports with Gwen DeRu!

Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Captain Keith Hoskins to Award Freedom Trophy to Talladega Superspeedway’s GEICO 500 Winner

The Freedom Trophy, Talladega Superspeedway’s newest tradition, will be presented to the winner of the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 3, by Captain Keith Hoskins, Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla.
A year ago, Talladega Superspeedway track officials proudly announced the creation of the Freedom Trophy, which is awarded to each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track by a member of one of our country’s five military branches. Talladega is known for its history, tradition, prestige and honor – all of which come with winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the biggest and baddest track on the planet.
Hoskins, who has accumulated more than 3,400 flight hours as a pilot, has decorations that include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (three awards with combat “V”), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards with combat “V”), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous unit commendations and awards. After being commissioned at the completion of Aviation Officer Candidate School in September 1989, he was designated a naval aviator in February 1992 in Kingsville, Texas. He has flown in combat missions, been an instructor pilot and was part of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron – the Blue Angels – for three seasons (1999-2001).
He was responsible for writing, assessing and disseminating high-level policy during U.S. STRATCOM’s restructuring in the midst of the Global War on Terrorism, and in 2007, and he assumed the command tour of VFA-15, leading his squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was selected the 2010 honorary graduate of the United States Naval Academy and later served at the Naval Service Training Command as the national director of NROTC programs until taking command of NAS Pensacola.
“We are extremely proud to continue the prestigious Freedom Trophy tradition here at Talladega Superspeedway,” said track Chairman Grant Lynch. “There’s nothing we like more than showing support for our country’s troops who fight each and every day for our freedom so that we can put on NASCAR events here. They deserve all the recognition in the world. We can’t wait to have Captain Hoskins with us for the GEICO 500.”
The Freedom Trophy is a spectacular work of art. Silver aluminum panels, complete with a design of each military branch soldier and branch logo, are showcased, along with a star that is a waterjet cut in the center. Black stained wood makes up the trophy’s base, with circular discs at the bottom and top made of black acrylic, and includes the Talladega Superspeedway logo, the date of the race and the name of the base awarding the trophy.
Talladega Superspeedway has always proudly brought patriotic elements to the grand 2.66-mile venue, showcasing some of the most recognizable displays to celebrate troops in all of NASCAR. Talladega works closely with numerous military bases throughout the southeast to bring members of the military to the historic venue.
In addition to recognizing the military through the Freedom Trophy, Talladega Superspeedway is proud to offer special ticket prices for all members of the military and their families for its race weekends. For more information, visit  www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/military.
Talladega’s weekend kicks off on Friday (May 1) with practice sessions for the GEICO 500 (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) and Winn-Dixie 300 (NASCAR XFINITY Series), as well as practice, qualifying and green flag for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards event, set to start at 5 pm (CST). The evening concludes with “The “Big One on the Blvd” Mardi Gras-style parade, which will feature NASCAR drivers and fan competitions on the track’s infield Talladega Blvd.
Saturday’s slate includes qualifying for the GEICO 500 and Winn-Dixie 300, followed by the start of the Winn-Dixie 300 at 2 p.m. (CST). The day concludes in the evening with the Talladega Superspeedway traditional Infield Concert featuring country music artist Chase Rice. The concert is free with the purchase of a Sunday GEICO 500 (12 noon CST start) admission ticket. For ticket information, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.