Captain of Heartland Fire & Rescue – La Mesa (just outside San Diego), Sonny Saghera has been announced as the next member of the ‘CK Crew’ – the team of military veterans and first responders that will be PIRTEK Team Murray’s entry in this May’s Indy 500 Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge.
Captain Saghera was announced at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by PIRTEK Team Murray Ambassador, Taya Kyle, driver Matt Brabham and owner, Brett Murray.
Sonny is a familiar face in Southern California as Fire Captain for Heartland Fire & Rescue in La Mesa and regularly faces media to discuss incidents in the county.
It is a busy weekend also for Ms. Kyle, who on Friday will ride with Mario Andretti in the two-seater IndyCar and then on Sunday join Grand Marshal – 10 times Boxing World Champion, Oscar De La Hoya as part of pre-race celebrations and she will be the honorary starter of the 42nd edition of the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix.
With the backing of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and the assistance of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, the CK Crew will bring together six military veterans and first responders to be a fully functioning pit crew in the annual IndyCar challenge, as part of celebrations for the 100th Indianapolis 500 this May.
Whilst at the absolute highest level in their own fields of excellence, the CK Crew members have never done a pitstop before – let alone worked with each other as a team. They’ll train in Indianapolis for 10 days before the May 27 competition on Miller Lite Carb Day.
Captain Saghera has been serving the Southern Californian community from Fire Station 11 in Heartland – La Mesa for 17 years.
Being thrown into the cauldron of an IndyCar pitstop on the PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet, along with developing new skill sets and drawing on some of his base training is a challenge that Sonny is taking on with great enthusiasm.
“I have been following the development of PIRTEK Team Murray and the involvement of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and Taya for some time, so when this opportunity came up, I was very quick to say yes,” said Sonny Saghera.
“The Indy 500 is an event that many people dream of attending, but to come together in a new type of team, a new environment, learning new skills – but drawing on the training that we’ve all had at varying levels throughout our careers – is incredibly exciting.
“Taya and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation have made a real impact on the lives of veterans and first responder families right around the country. That we’ll have 500 military service, veterans and first responders joining the CK Crew and PIRTEK Team Murray through the month of May just makes this all the more important.
“My family, like so many others were touched when they saw Chris Kyle’s story played out in American Sniper – knowing Chris and Taya it had more impact.
“You add all of those elements together – plus the Memorial Day traditions and the history of the Brabham family at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – it is a great story and I am fortunate to be part of it.”
Taya Kyle – who rode with Mario Andretti in the two-seater IndyCar this afternoon – highlighted the importance of first responders in the programming of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
“The First Responders of America do such a wonderful job in protecting and saving lives – firemen like Captain Saghera are instrumental in their local communities,” said Ms. Kyle – the Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
“The guys that we’re bringing together for the CK Crew have been great friends and have helped Chris and particularly my family and I over the last few years. I know they will do an awesome job and we’ll all be able to have a great celebration at the completion of the Pit Stop Competition with them all.”
PIRTEK Team Murray driver, Matt Brabham is preparing for a busy month and the 500. He has been collaborating with the first CK Crew Member announced – former Navy SEAL David Rutherford – on mentally preparing for the event.
“Meeting guys like Dave and now Sonny has added something completely new to the PIRTEK Team Murray experience for me,” said Matt. “These guys have been at the front of battles and have saved lives.
“Thinking that they will be in our pit bunker and around our team throughout May is something really special. They’ve done so much for America and continue to do so either in active service or through their careers post-service.
“I’m very fortunate that I can draw upon their experiences to help me prepare for this – which is the greatest challenge I have ever faced.
“With the CK Crew tying in with Memorial Day weekend and the heroes that we will be announcing to make up the balance of the team, I think we’ll have plenty of people cheering us on during the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge, which will carry through to the race on May 29.”
The CK Crew has six packages available that will form a donation to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and provide the ultimate Indy 500 VIP experience. The package includes a two seat IndyCar ride with Matt Brabham; meet and greets throughout race week and exclusive dinners and executive hospitality for the race itself. Click here for more detail.
The PIRTEK Team Murray program will feature at the Angie’s List Grand Prix between May 12-14 before practice starts for the Indy 500 on May 16, with the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge on Miller Lite Carb Day (May 27) and the 100th running of the Indy 500 on May 29.
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