William Byron’s Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro will have a patriotic paint scheme for the 600 Miles of Remembrance Cup Series race on May 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in memory of Ronald A. Grider.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald “Aaron” Grider’s name will appear on the windshield of Byron’s car.
At the time of his death, Grider, originally from Alton, Ill., was pursuing a B.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies. He was killed on his 30th birthday on Sept. 18, 2010, by machine gun fire while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces’ Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“Memorial Day is such a special day to so many families to honor all of those that we have lost and their loved ones still here,” Byron said. “It means a lot to have Army Sgt. Grider’s name on the car, especially with the connection of him being a Liberty University online student that was pursuing his degree. It’s special to honor him. I’m sure his family is going to be thankful to see his name on the car. Hopefully we can have a great race for them and get them a win. That would be a great way to honor him and super special for everyone involved.”
In last year’s 600 Miles of Remembrance, Byron raced in memory of former U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, another student in Liberty’s online programs. In 2020, Byron drove in honor of former online student U.S. Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings and World War II veteran and longtime Liberty administrator George Rogers. In the 2019 race, Byron honored U.S. Air Force Captain Mark Weber, who also studied through Liberty’s online programs. In 2018, his rookie year in the NASCAR Cup Series, Byron paid tribute to two former Liberty faculty members: U.S. Army Maj. Mike Donahue, a former assistant professor of military science for Liberty’s Army ROTC program, and Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Davidson, who had a decorated 20-year career as a military chaplain before becoming director of Liberty’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program.