NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Green Beret John Wayne Walding attends his first NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, he’ll see a familiar name plastered around the historic race track – his own.
Walding was announced the winner of Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, which awards naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS to a deserving American hero, during last night’s live broadcast of the CMT Music Awards. As the winner, Walding’s name will be incorporated into the official race title, the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.
Walding, of Little Elm, Texas, is a highly decorated Army veteran who served for 12 years, completing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. While overseas in 2008, Walding was involved in a fire fight during a mission to capture a high value target, during which he lost the lower part of his right leg.
After recovering from his injury, Walding was the first amputee to graduate the Special Forces Sniper School. He completed the Army 10 miler on foot and the 2009 Boston Marathon utilizing a hand cycle, within a year of the accident. Among Walding’s many awards and badges are the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantry Badge. Walding was nominated for the program by his brother and lives in Little Elm with his wife Amy and their four children. He is the founder of Five Toes Custom, which employs wounded veterans in an effort to provide support and direction within their lives.
“The fact that Crown Royal cares enough to say ‘thank you’ for what I’ve done is a true validation for my sacrifice,” said Walding following the unveil event. “The magnitude of those two words goes above and beyond.”