RUSH, SPIRE MOTORSPORTS, TO HONOR FALLEN MARINE RYLEE MCCOLLUM DURING COCA-COLA 600
(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, announced today that alongside sister club the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the team has partnered with Spire Motorsports to honor two United States Armed Services veterans during the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29.
Through Spire Holdings, the ownership group of both teams and Spire Motorsports, Marine Lance Corporals Rylee McCollum and James Ray “Jim” Davenport's names will be displayed on the Spire Motorsports No. 7 and No. 77 Chevrolet Camaros for the race as part of NASCAR’s “600 Miles of Remembrance” and “NASCAR Salutes” programs.
Lance Cpl. McCollum enlisted in the Marine Corps the day he turned 18-years-old. He had spoken of his desire to join the armed forces since he was as young as two. He was among 13 U.S. troops killed in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. McCollum left behind a widow, Jinneah, whom he married shortly before he was deployed and a daughter, Levi, who was born just weeks after his death. He was 20-years-old.
“I can’t thank the Rush, NASCAR and Spire Motorsports enough for their continued support of Gold Star families, our military, honoring my family and my son Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, U.S. Marines,” said Rylee’s father, Jim McCollum, on behalf of the family. “We are humbled by the incredible people who have proven to be so supportive.”
Lance Cpl. Davenport, born December 31, 1985, joined the Marines in January of 2005 before passing away on November 22, 2006, alongside two other Marines, after their Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Anbar Province of western Iraq. He was 20-years-old.
“It means so much to Cliff (Davenport’s father) and me that Jim is being honored,” said Tammie Davenport, his mother. “To know that people in our country are still showing honor to our fallen is humbling, and we want to say thank you to all who remember their sacrifice.”
The mission of the “600 Miles of Remembrance” is to honor the men and women who gave their lives in active duty service defending the country. Fallen service members will be honored by featuring their names on the windshield of each NASCAR Cup Series car during the Memorial Day Weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It brings me great pride in our two organizations and our ownership to recognize and honor the memories of these two men, Lance Cpls. Davenport and McCollum, during the Coca-Cola 600,” said Spire Hockey President Todd Mackin. “These Marines made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and our way of life. We owe it to them and their families to make sure that their sacrifice, their impact, and their memories are never forgotten.”
Now in its eighth year, NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola began at Dover Motor Speedway with the DuraMAX Drydene 400 on May 1 and concludes with the return of “600 Miles of Remembrance” during the 63rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Memorial Day Weekend (May 29, at 6:00 p.m. EDT on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).
“Spire Motorsports is proud to partner with NASCAR for this initiative to honor and support the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr. “At the same time, we’re humbled to have Corey LaJoie carry Lance Cpl. McCollum’s name on the windshield of the No. 7 and Josh Bilicki carry Lance Cpl. Davenport's name on the windshield of the No. 77. We can’t ever let the bravery of those who make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the United States be forgotten. NASCAR does a tremendous job every Memorial Day Weekend of making sure we recognize those who deserve the highest of honors. Spire is privileged to play a small part.”