Before climbing in the No. 31 Liberty National Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman went to work honoring U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ryan Lohrey of Middleton, Indiana.
Newman carried HM1 Lohrey’s name on the windshield of his Chevrolet Camaro throughout the race weekend in Charlotte, but on Thursday, May 24 at the Camping World Racing Center in front of the zMAX Dragway he honored Lohrey by planting a memorial tree with Ryan’s mother and father.
“This is all about giving thanks,” said Newman. “This is a unique situation for me. We are planting a tree which gives us life and at the same time, we are celebrating the life of Ryan Lohrey and all the things he has done to give us this freedom. This protection in this world that we have.
“I think the ultimate partners that we have that so often get forgotten are the soldiers that give us this freedom and the country we live in,” he said.
“I am honored to stand up here on behalf of NASCAR, Rescue Ranch, Coca-Cola, Marcus (Smith), all the people the people that contribute to NASCAR Green to do an event like this to plant a tree and celebrate life and make a difference, make an impact on what is a special weekend here at Charlotte Motor Speedway Memorial Day weekend.”
HM1 Lohrey’s father, Michael, was on hand for the tree-planting ceremony and said it was an honor to be a part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance program and associated with Newman and the entire No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team.
“It means a lot to us knowing that Ryan Newman just planted a tree in his honor that will be here, we hope, forever. Our son is not being forgotten,” said Lohrey.
“He was such an honorable man who loved serving his country. It’s what he always wanted to do,” he said. “This all is very humbling to us,” he said. “I am so sorry for all the families who are going through this, but to see and experience all this recognition is very special.”