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Brickyard 400 Renamed For Afghanistan Veteran

Stephen Scott

One of the heroes of a battle in Afghanistan now finds his name attached to Sunday‘s Brickyard 400, the result of a vote by race fans. A native Texan, he‘s a real-life version of the Hollywood star with whom he shares his name.

When he was younger, John Wayne Walding‘s grandparents gave him a copy of the 1968 film "The Green Berets" starring his namesake. He acknowledges the name has been a burden at times but he embraces that.

On April 6, 2008, Staff Sergeant Walding‘s leg was shattered by enemy fire as he and others clung to the side of a 60-foot cliff, just below an insurgent stronghold.

Forced to retreat down the cliff, he tied his dangling lower leg to his belt with two bootlaces so he could keep moving and shooting. On Sunday he will see his first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now officially known as the "Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding Brickyard 400 sponsored by"