Our brave men and women return home from lengthy deployments or clock out after a rough shift in need of a way to decompress safely. Since 2017 we have proudly given them a place to relax, relieve that stress, and be amongst a familiar family who understand the struggles that come with putting the needs of others before their own. We give them that, place which allows them to be released from the grip of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Our functional therapy provides a mental health resiliency that lives on in every life we touch, and we are proud of that fact. We will always put our nations’ heroes first.
Serving as Firefighter/Paramedic for Barrow County Emergency Services for the past 23 years, I am from Winder, Georgia, has seen my fair share of injury, death, and destruction. As the husband of a US Navy veteran and retired firefighter and the father of an active-duty US Coast Guardsman, I has witnessed first-hand the impact that stress and injury can have on our servicemen, women, and public safety members. After obtaining the rank of Battalion Chief, the presence and severity of PTSD became increasingly profound in my life. In 2018, I was introduced to the USMC Racing Team while working on the safety team at Road Atlanta for the annual Lemons Race. After a brief conversation, it was evident that I needed the USMC Race team for exactly what the organization set out to do; participate in a unique race experience while fostering friendships and providing an avenue to relieve stress. In December of 2019, I joined the USMC Race Team as a driver of the #412 Crown Victoria at Road Atlanta. I was is honored to drive at the 2020 New Orleans Motorsports Park, Military and First Responder Appreciation event. With my family in attendance, I hope that I can continue to spread awareness for post-traumatic stress disorders and promote an environment where like-minded people can come together and raise money for our service and public safety members in need.
Rob NowakowskiActive Fire Fighter
As a career SOCOM Operator whose injuries had stripped away my existing competitive outlets, I quickly found myself diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The darkness in life had taken over, and I never wanted (or saw reason) to get out of bed. Behavioral health professionals explained to me I would not survive in my current state and asked what available interests remained for me. From this discussion, I began researching budget Endurance Racing and this research quickly led me to USMC Racing.
For me, USMC Racing is literally a life-saving endeavor. The USMC Racing purpose and mission has been achieved through my example. I will never feel at risk of being left behind as long as this organization continues to thrive.
AJ JacksonActive Duty US Army
I enlisted in the Air Force in 2002 during both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a Services Craftsman, I was responsible for maintaining food service, fitness, sports and recreation support, lodging operations, and Mortuary Affairs. My tours of duty include Iraq, South Korea, Italy, and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. I have always wanted to be a racecar driver in some capacity, and couldn’t help but think about it every day. Growing up in the City of Atlanta, my exposure to the sport was non-existent, outside of television. My fortune recently changed after getting an email from Brian, who found me in a free agent driver’s pool. Brian explained to me what USMC Racing is all about, and I committed myself to his cause right away. It was the perfect storm of being able to support fellow veterans while living my true passion.
Christian HollinsVeteran, US Air Force
I signed up with USMC Racing to get some “seat time” in a race car on a world-class road course called the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It was all about the racing for me until I learned more about the mission of USMC Racing. I learned about the challenges our brothers and sisters in the uniform face when they come home from service overseas. I learned how some injuries suffered on the battlefield are not easily seen, and some can be invisible. It hit me hard as I watched a young veteran struggle to get into his racing suit and into the race car due to physical injuries sustained in service to our country. Once his stint on the track was over, and he pulled into the pits, the joy on his face helped me understand the value of the experience USMC Racing provides.
We faced many race-related challenges, but we worked side by side with each other – my military and first responder brothers and sisters – as we prepped the cars and kept them running through a grueling race weekend. Before the weekend was over, I made some friends that I look forward to racing and wrenching with again in a couple of months.
Charlie Adams Jr.Veteran, US Navy
My name is Jeff Rozycki; I served in the US Navy from 1988 to 1993 as a Cryptologic Technician Maintenance and served on the auxiliary security force. Joining the military was the best thing that could have happened to me. Military cutbacks were the only reason I left the service. My father was in the Navy Reserves for 26 years and served his community as a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years. He spent his entire life selflessly giving to his country and community while ensuring to pass those values on to me. Unfortunately, I lost him to ALS two years ago. I am always looking for ways to connect with and support fellow veterans. When learning about the mission of USMC Racing, not only catering to our active duty and veteran servicemen and women but also supporting first responders while racing, this hit me right at the core of my beliefs!!!! Being involved with USMC Racing at a recent race made me immediately feel that sense of family and community that only those who have served can provide and understand. I am so grateful for everything that USMC Racing does.
Jeff RozyckiVeteran, US Navy
I grew up in Eastern Kansas and returned after that, I retired from the military. I spent just over 20 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. During my service, I deployed to Japan, via US Navy ship with a Marine Expeditionary Unit, Liberia (for a United Nations Mission), Djibouti, combat zone tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. My non-operational tours were in Northern Virginia, working on weapons programs and at the Pentagon with Headquarters Marine Corps. USMC Racing provides a great way to get into motorsports. Ordinarily, the costs and complexity of getting into the wheel to wheel racing are daunting. Still, USMC racing makes it about as easy as it is possible to experience real racing. They have a massive support structure and experience level that makes the whole process much easier to deal with. The membership of the teams reminds us of the camaraderie and competitiveness that steered us toward military service in the first place. I have competed with the team once in Atlanta, and I would like to run about four races a year with them going forward.
Brian StrackRetired, US Marine Corps
My name is Tim Schoppe from Houston, Tx. I have been working on my endurance race car for a few years after our last outing resulted in a blown engine, and was itching for some seat time. Brian Czech put out a call for drivers via social media for the Circuit of The America’s event in June 2020, and without really researching much about the team – I reached out to Brian to see if I could catch a ride with his team. So, you could say that I got connected to USMC Racing by answering a Facebook Ad! Anyway, after I learned more about the team, I was open with them that I wasn’t a veteran or a first responder, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t taking a seat from one. Brian assured me I wasn’t preventing anyone else from driving and that I was welcome to join the team. So, off I went to Austin, excited, nervous, and not knowing ANYONE on the team or how I would be received once everyone knew I wasn’t a veteran or first responder.
As soon as I showed up at the paddock, it was apparent my nervousness was unnecessary. I was immediately treated as part of the team and assigned to drive “Chesty.” The car was exceptionally well set up and ran well all weekend. It was an absolute blast driving a fun car on a fantastic circuit, but that’s not what I took away from the event. What I took from watching first hand is how this team all looked out for and encouraged each other throughout the weekend. It was amazing to see how this team of people from all over the country, from different backgrounds and branches of service, all got together, shared stories, and had each other’s back. I was very impressed with USMC Racing and how they stay true to their mission. I made some great friends that I still keep in touch with, and I hope to be a part of USMC Racing again someday in another event.
Thank you all for everything you do for our communities and our country. Thank you for what you do for each other; that was truly awesome to see. USMC Racing, Keep doing what you are doing, and I hope to see you at the track!
Tim SchoppeCOTA 2020 Team Member
I served 25 years in the Navy before retiring in 2019. I spent 15 years as a jet engine mechanic (ADC) on the enlisted side making it to the rank of E-7 (Chief). I was then selected to be an LDO (Officer) where I spent 10 years finally retiring after 25 years. Served in OIF/OEF along with multiple tours overseas.
Attending the NOLA Lemons race was an experience I’ll never forget. Brian and the entire Battle Scarred Motorsports Team are a great group of people. I truly appreciate them giving me the opportunity and experience to drive a race car. I look forward to joining them again in Houston in November 2021.
Litahni “Shaw Shank” ShawhanUS Navy Veteran
I’ve had the opportunity to have raced twice with these amazing humans. It’s such a cool experience to race a badass car, over a weekend of amazing food, fellowship, and legit bonding with like-minded people. They’re offering up an incredible experience for our Vet/LEO/First responder community. Full send at 125 miles an hour while sleeping trackside, eating 3 badass catered meals a day, and partying around racecars and racecar people! I’m going as often as I can!
Adam “Hard Luck” ElyUS Army Veteran
Hi! My name is Ritamarie Thomason, and I’m a sergeant with the Tuscaloosa, AL Police Department. I’ve been in law enforcement for the last 10 years and was a paramedic for 5 years prior to that. The work that Brian does with Battle Scarred Motorsports is amazing! It’s just wonderful to be able to spend the weekend with other first responders and veterans that share the same challenges that I do and being able to bond over our shared love of racing. And when I’ve had a rough day at work, I know there is a whole group of people out there that share my struggles and helps me to realize that I’m not alone.