FORT BRAGG -- It’s a name that won’t be forgotten – Specialist Michael Rodriguez.
The Fort Bragg soldier was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division when he was killed serving his country in Iraq in 2007.
Now 10 years later, the memory of Specialist Rodriguez will be front and center at the Cocoa-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend race.
NASCAR's No. 48 Car To Honor Fallen Fort Bragg Soldier
NASCAR driver, Jimmie Johnson, made a special trip to Fort Bragg to unveil his new No. 48 car. Rodriguez’s family and the soldiers he served with helped to unveil the new car. The cover was lifted and there across the windshield read the name, “SPC Rodriguez.”
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Johnson will race in his honor in front of hundreds of thousands of motorsports fans. Johnson sat down with Rodriguez’s mother, Lorie Southerland, as she shared stories about her son’s life.
Southerland said during the unveiling, “Michael would have a really big smile on his face.”
Southerland remains a big part of the military working at the Fisher House on the base at Fort Bragg. The Fisher House helps the families of wounded and ill soldiers. Lowe’s donated $10,000 to the Fisher House in Rodriguez’s memory.
Johnson is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Charlotte Motor Speedway as he’s hoping to make it there this time all for Rodriguez and his family.
Rodriguez was a fourth-generation soldier and served his family and country proudly.