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Car's Sept. 11-theme rolls out near trade center site

- The Associated Press
Monday, Aug. 31, 2009

NEW YORK - A race car bearing the phrase "Always Remember" was unveiled Monday across from the World Trade Center site.

Benny Gordon hopes to drive it in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event scheduled for Sept. 11 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. It also bears the phrase "9/11 Memorial," a reference to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum.

Gordon, who has made five starts this season, co-owns the North South Motorsports team, based in DuBois, Pa., near the memorial site for United 93, one of four hijacked jetliners that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It's a real honor and privilege for us to do this," said Gordon, adding that hearing the stories of firefighters and police officers has been "incredible."

The car is a black, blue and white Ford Fusion with patriotic stars and stripes. After the car was delivered in a 53-foot-long truck, the hood was removed so trade center responders could sign its underside.

"I don't know much about NASCAR, but now I've become a huge fan," said retired fire Lt. Mickey Krofs, who survived the collapse of the trade center's north tower.

The unveiling took place at the museum preview site, where visitors can use interactive computers and view photos and a model of what the ground zero site eventually will look like.

"No matter what profession you're in, there are important ways to contribute to building a 9/11 memorial and museum," said Joseph Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, adding that he hopes the car will inspire race fans to learn more about the memorial.

Jim O'Connell, NASCAR spokesman, said as many as 75,000 people will attend the race, and about 2 million are expected to watch it on ESPN2.

It's assigned No. 72, the number of retired racer Bill McKenzie, who's now part of Gordon's team.

"I hope everybody is cheering for us, and I hope we have a good run," Gordon said.

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