Atlanta Motor Speedway and its corporate partner Degree V12 are committed to honoring America's armed forces and have selected an Army National Guard widow to serve as Grand Marshal for the Degree V12 300 Nationwide Series race at AMS.
Crystal Beale of McDonough has been selected as Grand Marshal for the Degree V12 300. Beale's husband, SFC John C. Beale, died June 4 in Kapisa, Afghanistan at age 39 from wounds suffered from an IED and small arms fire.
"My husband would be very happy with our community if he knew the level of outpouring and support," said Beale. "Being selected is very humbling and it was a very big surprise. My children are ecstatic and we're honored to be able to participate."
Crystal was selected to serve as Grand Marshal for the Degree V12 300 after the Degree Brand team heard her husband's courageous story.
Beale will not only represent her late husband on race day, but also the families of many other wounded and departed American soldiers.
"We're honored to host Crystal Beale as our Grand Marshal for the Degree V12 300," said Ed Clark, Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager. "Crystal's presence will not only serve as a memoriam to her husband John, but also to all of America's heroes who have been lost serving to protect our freedoms."
A native of Riverdale, John C. Beale served in the United States Army from 1989 through 1994 and was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. He returned to service in 2005 by joining the Army National Guard. In a civilian role, John served the Clayton County Water Authority and was active in the Authority's youth programs. He also enjoyed assisting with career days at local schools. Married since 1990, John moved with Crystal to McDonough in 1997 where they resided with their two children, Christopher and Calye.
"We had the forbidden conversation about what would happen," said Beale, describing a pre-deployment conversation with John. "He told me, ‘You guys will be taken care of through the military and even our community.' I never could have imagined all the support - it's been amazing. My husband would be very proud."
For more information on the Degree V12 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.