NASCAR driver to honor fallen Marine

Herald Staff Writer

DUBOIS — United States Marine Corps. Cpl. Eric Lueken, a 2001 Northeast Dubois High School graduate killed in action April 22, 2006, in Iraq, will be honored by having his name on NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas car during a 2014 race.

Busch has teamed with the Armed Forces Foundation to race in memory or in honor of service members during the 2014 season. The effort is called the Race Dedication Program.

Lueken’s cousin, John Marks, 52, of Owensboro, who closely follows the Armed Forces Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project, nominated the fallen Marine.

Marks said it was confirmed this week that Eric’s name will be on Busch’s car Sept. 14 when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. It will be the first race in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Lueken, the son of Jake and Melinda Lueken of Dubois, was mortally wounded by an improvised device that detonated while he was in a convoy in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was a 23-year-old field radio operator with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

In nominating his cousin, Marks explained that the men in Lueken’s company nicknamed him “Radio” and said his parents “had raised the coolest Marine in the Third of the Third.”

An Armed Forces Foundation spokesman said this is the third year that Kurt Busch and the Foundation are teaming for the Race Dedication Program. Each race is dedicated to honoring one service member.

“That (Chicagoland) race is specific for Eric,” the spokesman said, adding that Lueken’s name will be located under the No. 41 car’s left taillight. “We want these heroes to get the recognition they deserve.”

Contact Bill Powell.

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