NASCAR

Cecil Whig - - IN­SIDE­BASE­BALL -

cars tells a story of honor and sac­ri­fice,” said Brent De­war, NASCAR chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. “As the NASCAR in­dus­try re­flects on Me­mo­rial Day Week­end, we’re proud to honor these and all fallen ser­vice mem­bers in a way that helps en­sure their sto­ries and lives are never for­got­ten.”

As far as Roush is con­cerned, it’s more than a con­tin­u­a­tion of NASCAR: An Amer­i­can Sa­lute, the in­dus­try’s col­lec­tive ex­pres­sion of rev­er­ence, re­spect and grat­i­tude for those who have served and con­tinue to de­fend the United States to­day. To him, it’s per­sonal. Roush wanted to en­list in the U.S. Air Force dur­ing the Viet­nam War, but classes for nav­i­ga­tors and pi­lots were full. By the time the draft was im­ple­mented in 1969, Roush wasn’t el­i­gi­ble to be drafted be­cause he al­ready was mar­ried with a child.

“I felt like I didn’t do my part,” Roush said. “That’s why I’m proud to do this, to rec­og­nize the loss the fam­ily had, the loss of a son and brother.”

The fam­ily hasn’t for­got­ten its re­la­tion­ship with Roush. They’ve stayed in touch for the past 15 years, and Roush has of­fered to fly all fam­ily mem­bers from South­ern Ohio to the race to join in the cel­e­bra­tion.

Butch Woolard now is the pub­lisher of The Sig­nal news­pa­per in Manch­ester, a job that’s been part of the fam­ily busi­ness for the last 70 years.

“My mom [Ge­or­gia Woolard] is 94 and she’s never been to a race,” Butch Woolard said. “We don’t know if 600 miles is a good one to start her with. If we can’t make it, you can be sure we’ll be watch­ing on tele­vi­sion.”

Like Roush, Butch Woolard for­ever will be con­nected by a friend­ship that started long be­fore four best friends were pho­tographed on the go-kart.

“Ev­ery­one in Manch­ester loved that go-kart ex­cept my fa­ther be­cause we took From left to right: Jimmy Woolard, Jack Roush [on the go-kart], Butch Woolard and Frank Roush.

the en­gine out of his lawn­mower to build it,” Woolard said. “Jim was an all-around, All-Amer­i­can boy who liked

play­ing base­ball and bas­ket­ball, or go­ing fish­ing.” And rid­ing the go-kart. Spe­cial­ist Fourth Class James A. Woolard, a mem­ber of the U.S. Army’s A Bat­tery, Sixth Bat­tal­ion, 29th Ar­tillery, Fourth In­fantry Di­vi­sion, died Nov. 3, 1969, from in­juries sus­tained five days ear­lier in a mor­tar at­tack near the Cam­bo­dian bor­der at Pleiku in the Cen­tral High­lands of South Viet­nam. He was 19.

Shortly be­fore his death, Jimmy sent a photo to Butch of a young Viet­namese child sit­ting on his lap clutch­ing a candy bar.

“He told me, ‘This is what I’m do­ing here. I’m try­ing to make their lives bet­ter,’” Woolard said. “He vol­un­teered to go there be­cause he wanted to do some­thing mom and dad couldn’t do for him.”

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