SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The recent tragedy in Aurora, Colo., struck close to home for one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams — quite literally.
The July 20 movie theater shooting that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others occurred just seven miles from the Furniture Row Racing shop in Denver.
Accordingly, the organization decided to create a memorial to the victims — and to the heroism of those who prevented additional loss of life — with the No. 78 Chevrolet Regan Smith will drive in Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On Friday, the team wrapped the car with decals that pay tribute to the victims. The rear quarter panels read “Aurora, CO” with the names of the 12 people killed in the shooting listed below. On the hood is a depiction of a ribbon that contains a cross and the “CO” logo that appears on the state flag.
The TV panel (rear bumper) features the inscription: “For those lost, Those injured and Countless Acts of Bravery 7/20/12.”
Kimber Avra, an employee of the Furniture Row Companies, was at the theater when the shooting occurred. She escaped with scrapes and bruises, but her friend, Micayla Medek, was one of the 12 killed in the attack by a single gunman. Former graduate student James Holmes is accused of the crime.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone said. “It really hits home for us here in Colorado. . . . We mourn the loss of life from this senseless tragedy and feel we also need to stand up and acknowledge the heroism of those people who put their lives on the line to save others.”