Youngstown veteran selected as NASCAR race's honorary starter - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown veteran selected as NASCAR race's honorary starter

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BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) - A U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient from Ohio has been selected as the honorary starter for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR race.

The state of Michigan says David Balestrino Jr. of Youngstown won a contest on the Pure Michigan Facebook page, getting hundreds of votes for his entry on why he wanted to wave the green flag on race day at Michigan International Speedway.

Balestrino served as a combat engineer from 2003-2009 and received a Purple Heart during service in Iraq. In his entry, Balestrino said he would like to start the race in honor of his 6-year old son, Brady, after missing the first year of Brady's life while in Iraq.

TV personality and Traverse City native Carter Oosterhouse is Pure Michigan 400 grand marshal.

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