Whelen Modified Tour Teams To Carry Fallen Heroes On Roof Decals At Jennerstown Speedway

(Press Release from JDV Productions)

All NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will carry the name of a fallen hero on their roof decal this Saturday, May 29, at Jennerstown Speedway. As part of a partnership with Operation Vet NOW Inc. (OVN), JDV Productions — led by Josh Vanada — and NASCAR, the fourth race of the Whelen Modified Tour season will be the Jennerstown Salutes 150 presented by DGV.

The race — which comes on Memorial Day weekend — will honor those lost fighting in war for the freedoms of the United States of America, and beyond. Some of the heroes that will be on the Modifieds hit close to home for the drivers — with some carrying the name of their lost family members.

The list of heroes includes members of the Air Force, Marine’s, Army and Navy, with a mix of Captains, Majors, Staff Sergeants, Corporals, Master Sergeants, Sergeant 1st Class, Warrant Officers, Seaman, Lieutenant’s and more. The list includes heroes who earned the Medal of Honor, Silver Star and Bronze Star — and some who were a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. It should be a special day for all involved. As the race day draws near, promoters have come together to release a list of the fallen heroes that will be honored on Saturday, which can be seen at the bottom of this story.

J.B. Fortin, who is in the middle of his third straight year of full-time Whelen Modified Tour racing, returns to Jennerstown for the third time in his career, looking to earn his first top-10 at the Pennsylvania oval. Fortin will carry the name of Air Force Airman First Class Gerard J Fortin — his grandfather — for Saturday’s event.

It’s a special moment for J.B. and the entire Fortin family. His father, John Fortin Sr., is coming off a win in NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series action at Riverhead Raceway last weekend, and the entire team is ready to honor their family member with a strong run in his honor.

“It’s big for me, and it would mean a lot to me to go out there and have a good run, especially on a weekend like this,” J.B. Fortin said. “My grandfather was my best friend when I was younger… we were inseparable. I actually have a tattoo with the Air Force symbol on my arm with his name on it. He never really got to see me race, moving down to Florida before I really got going. When NASCAR approached me and asked what name I would like to carry, I told them right away I was using my grandfather. No doubt about it.”

As previously released, two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore will carry the name of Air Force Staff Sergeant David Weiger, and Weiger’s family will also be in attendance on Saturday’s as a Gold Star Family. Both of Weiger’s parents, and his brother, will be at Jennerstown Speedway to watch Bonsignore wheel the No. 51 Phoenix Communications machine.

Jon McKennedy, driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing, will carry the name of Army Sergeant Jason McClary — while McClary’s brother will be in attendance. The Wing Man & Name sake of Army Warrant Officer James L Darcy will be at the track, with Ron Silk carrying his name on top of his Kevin Stuart Motorsports No. 85 for the 150-lap affair.

Craig Lutz, Tyler Rypkema and six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby will carry the name of a hero who earned the Medal of Honor — the highest honor in the United States military from 1863 to current — with just over 3,500 awarded the honor.

Additional names may be added to the list if additional entries are received prior to race day. As of Tuesday, May 25, 23 cars are entered for the Jennerstown Salutes 150 presented by DGV.

Operation Vet NOW Inc. (OVN), a non-profit organization established to reduce veteran suicide and improve the overall wellness of veterans, regardless of era served, through innovative outreach experiences. OVN concentrates on veterans who suffer from the invisible injuries of PTSD, TBI, combat and transition stress issues, and mental health concerns, stemming from military service, connecting them to heal their mind, body and soul.

As part of a one-day show, the Jennerstown local Late Models and Modifieds will also join the action. Practice begins at 2:45 p.m. for local divisions, with the only Whelen Modified Tour practice of the day set from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole qualifying, which will be single-car time trials, is set for 5:45 p.m. Following tour qualifying, local divisions will race, and the green flag in the Jennerstown Salutes 150, presented by DGV, will drop at 7:30 p.m. 

General admission tickets are $30 for adults, with advance tickets now on sale at JDVProductions.com. A discounted ticket of $27 will be offered for Active Duty Military and Veterans. Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the race. Pit passes will be sold at the track only and are also available to the general public. There are no capacity restrictions in place for the event. The race will also air to a live audience on NBC Sports Gold through their TrackPass platform, which will include a special opening ceremony.

For more information on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, visit nascar.com. For more information on JDV Productions, visit JDV Productions on Facebook and follow at JDVProductions.com.


01 — Melissa Fifield — Air Force Captain Frederick A Reid

07 — Patrick Emerling — Air Force Major James A Crew

1 — Woody Pitkat — Marine Staff Sergeant Robert L Babula

2 — Chuck Hossfeld — Private 1st Class Marine Paul A Gilbert

5 — Kyle Ebersole — Lance Corporal Marine Abram Howard

7 — Jon McKennedy — Army Sergeant Jason McClary

10 — Doug Coby — Air Force Master Sergeant John Chapman

14 — Scott Wylie — Army First Lieutenant James R Kalsu

22 — Kyle Bonsignore — Lance Corporal Marine Joshua T Twigg

32 — Tyler Rypkema — Army Sergeant 1st Class Randall Shughart

34 — JB Fortin — Air Force Airman First Class Gerard J Fortin

36 — David Sapienza — Air Force Staff Sergeant Dashawn Briggs

45 — Timmy Catalano — Army Sergeant First Class Brent Adams

46 — Craig Lutz — Army Private 1st Class Melvin Brown

51 — Justin Bonsignore — Air Force Staff Sergeant David Wieger

54 — Tommy Catalano — Army Sergeant First Class Justin K Bluementhal

58 — Eric Goodale — Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy

64 — Timmy Solomito — Air Force Staff Sergeant Dylan Elchin

77 — Max McLaughlin — Navy Seaman Ralph L Hann

78 — Walter Sutcliffe — Army Specialist Christopher A Golby

82 — Anthony Nocella — Army Staff Sergeant Stevon Booker

85 — Ron Silk — Army Warrant Officer James L Darcy


  1. Operation Vet Now, God Bless you for helping OUR VETERANS !!! My Dad was a Staff Sargent in the Army on the 38th Parallel in Korea …. Tough Man … Never talked about…. But when he passed , Honor Guard at Wake,……….had all kinds of awards and metals we never knew about…Humble Servant to His Beloved USA !!! Excellent way to Honor those who served and those who never came home…!!!

  2. This is a wonderful gesture that I wholeheartedly support. These people made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Let’s support our living vets by properly funding the VA, providing worthwhile mental health support for returning combat vets, helping them to find and keep meaningful employment, and eliminating veteran homelessness. Whatever that takes…

  3. Respect.

    🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

  4. Fast Eddie says

    A great tribute to the people who served and their families! I strongly feel the effort and time put forth by the personnel at VA hospitals in my area are primarily responsible for the quality of life my Dad currently experiences.

  5. dramabaga says

    Heart warming tribute. Thank you race teams! Enjoy the Day! Land of the free, home of the brave!

  6. The Atomic Punk says

    Very Cool. Mad respect to all those who have served and to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.
    I agree with Barry 100%….VH

  7. My family didn’t lose anybody to wars. All my uncles served and came home. One uncle, who was always rather bluntly pragmatic, was a Pearl Harbor survivor. I have the letters from my Dad that he wrote home to his parents when he was serving, and when the Big One was declared over.

    Man, times have changed.

    When are we going to stop this idiocy?

  8. If you’re old enough you may recall as a child the adults in your life weren’t so big on occasions for remembering. The need to thank the ones doing the sacrificing not great since such a high percentage contributed they’d be constantly thanking each other. So they worked hard at forgetting.
    Everyone on the home front contributed as opposed to now where very few do. So we thank and remember those that do from time to time but for the most part don’t really let our constant wars intrude on our lives or think of those doing the fighting on a day to day basis.
    Well good for NASCAR. Remembering is never a bad thing especially if you can fold it into an racing event. Were they heroes? Mostly not just men and women taking the burden of soldiering and combat on in strange foreign lands for a host of reasons. They didn’t plan on dying or getting maimed. Actually the odds were very low but it is combat after all in very dangerous places and even the best equipped military in the world can’t prevent death.
    Were they fighting for our freedoms? Lost me in the Vietnam War. All the domino theory nonsense and stopping communism how necessary was that? Now they’re a major trading partner with us. Class mates coming back from the war messed up, funerals to go to and a draft always a factor to consider in your life choices. My view WWII was a war against an existential threat and perhaps the only war that can be considered fighting for our freedom. The war of 1812 perhaps also included and Afghanistan post 9/11 righteous at least at the start. Nope I still remember the two class mates that never got to have a life getting killed in Vietnam so when you say fighting for our freedoms I’m not seeing much more then wasted lives.
    Well good for NASCAR with the remembrance and this charity that does these deals but if this about the veterans we all owe a debt to then how about some credit for the major charities doing the heavy lifting year after year for veterans that are alive. Helping Vets with life long physical injuries, dealing with their mental demons and help with work, family and home.

    • Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A)
    • Bob Woodruff Family Foundation (A)
    • Fisher House Foundation (A+)
    • Gary Sinise Foundation (A)
    • Homes For Our Troops (A)
    • Hope For The Warriors (A)
    • Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A-)
    • K9s For Warriors (A-)
    • Mission Continues (A)
    • National Military Family Association (A)
    • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A)
    • Semper Fi & Amercia’s Fund (A+)
    • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (A)
    • Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)

    Finally the big one, the VA. The charities are all noble and help on the margins but it’s the VA that does the overwhelming majority of the work necessary to help veterans. The one government institution that almost no one attacks as needing to be eliminated, substantially downsized or is criticized as many other government institutions are no matter how inefficient they are at times.
    The VA always has done good work but the Mission Act of 2018 gave veterans the first real and permanent veterans choice through the brand-new community care program. Efforts made under the Obama administration to address wait times at the VA fell far short of addressing the problem. In spite of whatever Trump did or did not do he always championed Vets and lobbied for the legislation that now is considered an unqualified success.
    The decals are nice but I know of one vet that has received tremendous home health support from the VA under this program and I’m betting I’m not the only one that knows of such a person.

  9. Awesome thing these teams are doing. Many many people have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do. Sadly a great number of them died needlessly in places we didn’t belong. Much respect for every military and law enforcement member. Thank you.

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