With the 2019 season serving as the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing, we plan to dip into the archives to present the stories of iconic moments, race wins, championships and much more as part of our weekly Throwback Thursday series.
Throughout its existence, Richard Childress Racing has always had a special appreciation for the United States military and those Americans that sacrifice so much to ensure the freedoms the rest of the country enjoys daily.
As the NASCAR Salutes campaign is in full swing, RCR has shown its commitment to honoring the military in many ways. Austin Dillon and Dow honored veterans on the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during this past weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway, RCR remembered two fallen U.S. Navy Seals during the Coca-Cola 600, and the organization hosts a monthly coffee for local veterans. On June 5, RCR hosted nearly 1,000 veterans, including many World War II veterans.
To further showcase its commitment to the NASCAR Salutes program and all of the veterans past and present, we use this Throwback Thursday to look back at a truly special American flag that found its way to RCR in 2017.
Joshua T. Harris was a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL who earned the nickname, ‘The Son of Lexington’ for his local North Carolina roots and the positive mark he left on the community. For the 2017 Coca-Cola 600, Special Warfare Operator First Class SEAL Harris’ name was on the windshield header of Dillon’s No. 3 Dow Chevrolet.
Harris was an all-county and all-conference football player at Lexington (North Carolina) High School, an accomplished artist who earned a degree in studio art from Davidson College and studied in Prague, France and New York City. He was a man who pursued a master’s degree in Architecture while working as a bookseller and carpenter. He volunteered for the Special Olympics and Mighty Mutts.
At the age of 28, when he was on the brink of being too old to try out for the SEAL Team training program, Harris entered the Navy where he worked his way from SEAL Team 4 to SEAL Team 10, and eventually joined the Navy’s most elite counter-terrorism unit, SEAL Team 6, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
It was on SEAL Team 6 that Harris gave his life while leading a turbulent river crossing during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in August 2008. He was 36 years old. It was one of over 100 missions that he was a part of as a Navy SEAL.
A decorated military veteran, Special Warfare Operator First Class SEAL Harris’ military honors included a Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars (two with valor) and numerous awards and campaign medals.
Not only did Dillon’s No. 3 Dow Chevrolet carry Harris’ name, but the wrap scheme was also inspired by a 325-pound American Flag made from wine and whiskey barrels. The flag was a gift to Richard Childress from the Harris family for his support, friendship and hospitality.
The No. 3 Dow Chevrolet scheme stood out among the competition, especially when Dillon took Petty Officer Harris to Victory Lane at the end of the night.
“We had an angel onboard on the windshield with Joshua Harris,” said Dillon. “It’s pretty cool to take a hero to Victory Lane, a Navy SEAL, a true hero in this country. A lot of special things going on. Just happy.”
You can help keep Petty Officer Harris’ legacy alive by contributing to the Joshua T. Harris Memorial Golf Classic http://jthmemorialgolf.com/