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Joe C. Maynard Named Fire Department Coffee Community Hero of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

On Saturday during the third round of qualifying for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Joe C. Maynard, driver of the JCM Racing/Leatherwood Distillery A/Fuel Dragster, was recognized by NHRA as Fire Department Coffee’s Community Hero of the event.

At each stop along the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series tour, Fire Department Coffee recognizes and honors a deserving service member, veteran, first responder, or exceptional citizen as the Fire Department Coffee Community Hero. Before becoming involved in NHRA Drag Racing with his family in 2021, Maynard, son of JCM Racing team owner Joe E. Maynard, served as a member of the U.S. Army for 20 years. The former Chief Warrant Officer Four did eight combat tours where he manned the controls of various military helicopters, performing combat maneuvers as a Black Hawk pilot. His exceptional aviation skills led to his being promoted to an instructor pilot role in addition to receiving multiple air medals throughout his time spent in service.

“This is such an honor,” said Maynard, a fourth-generation veteran. “My time spent in the Army serving our country is something I am very, very proud of. My family and I have only been involved in NHRA Drag Racing for a short time, but in the three years since we’ve been out here, the NHRA community has embraced us wholeheartedly, and being nominated and recognized in this way is just the latest example of that. It feels especially surreal to be receiving this award at the facility my family considers to be their home track. It was right here in Bristol where my mom (the late Cathi Maynard) first saw a Top Fuel dragster in person and told my dad that she wanted to own one, one day. My parents are both veterans themselves and my son, Joe C. Jr., also served, so this is just a really cool thing to happen at a track that is so meaningful to our whole family.”

Now as a retired serviceman, Maynard, who resides in Clarksville, Tennessee, spends his time competing in a mix of national and divisional NHRA events as he pursues the 2024 Top Alcohol Dragster championship in his rookie season at the controls of a 4,000-horsepower machine. Maynard already has two wins under his belt from his competition debut in Gainesville, Florida in March when he swept the divisional and national Gatornationals events in the same weekend. Maynard also oversees the JCM Racing driver development program, which welcomed seven Jr. drag racers into the JCM fold for the 2024 season.

As part of the Community Hero recognition, Maynard was presented with a custom certificate and gift box from Fire Department Coffee, as well as a piston etched with ‘NHRA Honors.’ The presentation played on the trackside jumbotron as well as on the NHRA.TV live stream.

This story was originally published on June 8, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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