Nashville Superspeedway and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University announced a partnership Thursday to support mutual efforts to honor active-duty troops and assist student veterans as they seek educational and employment opportunities.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Erik Moses, Nashville Superspeedway’s president and general manager, announced the partnership will kick off with the 2022 NASCAR race weekend, beginning Friday, June 24, with the Rackley Roofing 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, and will extend throughout the year through joint events and activities.
“It was important to us that we establish a true win-win relationship, benefitting not only the Daniels Center, but also providing support, visibility and opportunities for academic programs that connect with the needs of the Superspeedway,” McPhee said. “In turn, we hope to support Erik’s efforts to expand the Superspeedway as a venue, not only for these premiere NASCAR races, but for other events beyond race weekend.”
Moses agreed, saying, “It is only natural that Nashville Superspeedway and Middle Tennessee State University would forge a strong partnership. We share the goal of building up Middle Tennessee as a regional destination, whether it’s through racing and entertainment options or via educational programs.”
The partnership has already yielded an immediate benefit: Rackley Roofing, one of Tennessee’s leading industrial and commercial roofing contractors and title sponsor of the June 24 truck race, said it will lend support and visibility to the Daniels Center’s efforts to connect graduating student veterans with employment opportunities in its company.
Rackley Roofing, established in 1974, has five locations throughout the state and is based in Carthage, Tennessee. Curtis Sutton, owner and CEO of Rackley Roofing, is also part owner of the Rackley WAR No. 25 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which is driven by Matt DiBenedetto. Michelle Boykin, Rackley’s chief operating officer, is an alumna of MTSU, graduating from the Jennings A. Jones College of Business with an accounting degree in 2006.
“Rackley is excited and honored to join the Nashville Superspeedway in supporting military- connected students through MTSU’s Daniels Center,” said Sutton. “Our three organizations — MTSU, the Superspeedway and Rackley Roofing — share similar core values. We’re happy to help increase awareness of MTSU’s outstanding work in helping students of all ages and all walks of life find opportunities and success.”
Additionally, Nashville Superspeedway will allow MTSU’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters to purchase discounted tickets to the Rackley Roofing 200, with a portion of the ticket proceeds to support the Daniels Center. Sutton said Rackley Roofing will match the donation total generated by the sale of the discounted tickets. Tickets can be purchased at www.mtsu.edu/superspeedway.
Both Moses and Sutton have visited the MTSU campus and toured the Daniels Center at the invitation of retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives. Huber founded the center in 2015 and led the drive to name it after its lead patrons, country music legend Charlie Daniels and his wife, Hazel. Daniels remained an avid support of the center up until his death in the summer of 2020.
“I am impressed by the character and commitment of both Erik Moses and Curtis Sutton and deeply appreciate the support they are demonstrating to our precious service members, veterans and their families,” Huber said. “I am honored to support both of their organizations in their service to our state and nation.”
Added Moses, “I was fortunate to tour MTSU recently and was excited to learn about its recent growth, both through new projects and planned upgrades for students and faculty. It reminded me of the renewal and growth that we’ve seen at Nashville Superspeedway as we get set to welcome the best and brightest of NASCAR back to the Superspeedway in a few days.”
“Our team was particularly impressed by the Daniels Center’s mission of helping veterans and their causes. Our company, Speedway Motorsports, has a rich history of supporting our military, and we are confident that this partnership will provide us with additional ways to strengthen the Superspeedway’s relationship with our military families across the state.”
MTSU’s Army ROTC Color Guard will present the colors before the start of the nationally televised Ally 400 on Sunday, June 26, and the Daniels Center will have a presence in the Superspeedway’s FanZone throughout the racing weekend. Huber will advise Moses on ways the Superspeedway can honor veterans and active-duty troops during the race weekend.
“We appreciate the visibility this partnership affords to our university’s service to veterans and our shared appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who wear, or have worn, the uniforms of our country,” Huber said.
— Andrew Oppmann (Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu)