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Partnership launched: MTSU's Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, Nashville Superspeedway

MTSU at superspeedway
Posted at 5:11 PM, Jun 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-25 18:11:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Superspeedway and MTSU's Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center formally launched a partnership with an announcement just before drivers started their engines Friday at the Rackley 200.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Nashville Superspeedway, in partnership with the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University would like to take this moment to ask all veterans, retired or those actively serving our nation, to stand so we, as a racing community may thank you for your dedication and sacrifice in protecting our country,” the announcer said. “Thank you for all you do, and continue to do, in serving the United States of America.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU's senior advisor for veterans and leadership initiatives, fostered the partnership to honor veteran service and draw attention to the university's work with military-connected students.

“It is wonderful that the Nashville Superspeedway has now joined such iconic Nashville brands as the Predators, the Grand Ole Opry and the Nashville Sounds in helping the Daniels Center show support and extend honor to those who have served our nation,” Huber said.

The Daniels Center set up a tent in the track's Fan Zone and answered questions from veterans and military families about Veterans Affairs educational benefits and university programs.

MTSU Daniels Center tent at Nashville Superspeedway
Hilary Miller, right, director of the MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, hands out university swag to fans attending the Rackley Roofing 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event Friday, June 24, at the Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. The Daniels Center has become a partner with both Nashville Superspeedway and Rackley Roofing. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU alumna and American Idol runner-up Hunter Wolkonowski, professionally known as HunterGirl, also appeared to serenade fans before the race.

Wolkonowski graduated from MTSU in the spring of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in the College of Media and Entertainment’s Music Business Program. In her time at the university, she performed at events benefiting the Daniels Center. Huber brought an autographed photo of Charlie Daniels with Wolkonowski from her performance at the 2019 Veterans Impact Celebration.

HunterGirl receives autographed photo with late country star Charlie Daniels
MTSU alumna Hunter Wolkonowski, left, of Winchester, Tenn., better known as HunterGirl from her runner-up finish in the last American Idol competition, receives a photograph of her with the late country music icon Charlie Daniels from retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, center, and Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller. It took place at the Rackley Roofing 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

“Y’all are gonna make me cry,” Wolkonowski said during her stop at the Daniels Center booth.

Before the race, Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller also presented a commemorative plaque to Michelle Boykin, chief operating officer of Rackley Roofing, the title sponsor of Friday's truck race, for the company's efforts to connect graduating student veterans with employment opportunities in its company. Boykin is another an alumna of MTSU.

Michelle Boykin receives commemorative plaque at Superspeedway event
Michelle Boykin, right, Rackley Roofing’s chief operating officer and an alumna of MTSU, is honored Friday, June 24, at the Nashville Superspeedway by MTSU Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller for her company’s support of veterans. They were attending the Rackley Roofing 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Curtis Sutton, owner and CEO of Rackley Roofing, doubles as part-owner of the Rackley WAR No. 25 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driven by Matt DiBenedetto.

“Rackley is excited and honored to join the Nashville Superspeedway in supporting military-connected students through MTSU’s Daniels Center,” Sutton said.

MTSU’s Army ROTC Color Guard will be presenting the colors before the start of the nationally televised Ally 400 on Sunday.