Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, will be going to Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina this Memorial Day weekend for a NASCAR tribute to his late son.
As part of the NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 “600 Miles of Remembrance,” the names of U.S. Armed Forces members who died in action will be displayed in the windshields of the cars participating in the race. Leavine Family Racing driver Kasey Kahne will carry Spc. Rudy Acosta’s name in honor of the late Santa Clarita resident.
Rudy Acosta grew up in Santa Clarita and attended Santa Clarita Christian School from kindergarten through high school. He enlisted in the Army as a combat medic in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. In March 2011, he was killed, along with another soldier, when an Afghan contractor opened fire on his base. Rudy Acosta was posthumously promoted to Army Specialist that year.
Dante Acosta said one of the sponsors of the Coca-Cola 600 had a family member living in Santa Clarita who volunteered Rudy Acosta’s name to be part of “600 Miles of Remembrance.”
“Every team has a fallen warrior they’re honoring,” he said. “Our greatest fear as Gold Star families is that our children will be forgotten, and when they aren’t forgotten, it’s particularly special to us.
The assemblyman said the honor was immense and that he and his family are looking forward to attending.
“Our country and community has come forward to say we want to remember these young men and women and we want to honor them,” he said. “Like all the other families, we share our plight with in the Santa Clarita Valley and around the country — we all miss our loved ones very much.”
The special tribute will commemorate the launch of NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola, the industry’s collective expression of respect and gratitude for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present.