RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Rush, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, have announced plans to honor the memory of an Ellsworth Air Force Base veteran during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Through the team’s ownership group, Spire Holdings, United States Air Force Captain Ryan “FOGG” Phaneuf’s name will be displayed on the Spire Motorsports No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for the race as part of NASCAR’s “600 Miles of Remembrance” and “NASCAR Salutes” programs.
The announcement was made in-game on Saturday night, the final game of “Military Appreciation Weekend” against the Indy Fuel.
Capt. Phaneuf, 30, was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base. A native of Hudson, New Hampshire, he passed away on January 27, 2020 while co-piloting the Bombardier E-11A that crashed in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, while serving his country on a voluntary deployment supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
“Anyone who loses a loved one fears their memory will be forgotten. I’m grateful for everyone at the Rapid City Rush, Spire Holdings, and Spire Motorsports who have helped in this effort to honor Ryan’s life, service, and sacrifice,” said Megan Phaneuf, his widow.
The mission of the “600 Miles of Remembrance” is to honor the men and women who gave their lives in active duty service defending the country. Fallen service members will be honored by featuring their names on the windshield of each NASCAR Cup Series car during the Memorial Day Weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Rush close out the home portion of the 2020-21 ECHL Season this weekend in a “three-in-three” against the Allen Americans. Puck drop for Friday, May 28th, and Saturday, May 29th, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT, while Sunday’s matinee finale is 4:05 p.m. MDT on May 30th.
“We are fortunate to operate in a community with a strong military presence and history and cannot thank these men and women enough for their sacrifices in protecting our freedom. We are forever grateful to Captain Phaneuf for his courage in serving the United States,” said Todd Mackin, President of Spire Hockey, a subsidiary of Spire Holdings.
Now in its seventh year, NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola began at Kansas Speedway with the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on May 2nd and concludes with the return of “600 Miles of Remembrance” during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Memorial Day Weekend.