Officials at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday honored the heroism of Mark Geist and John Tiegen, who, along with actor John Krasinski, were the grand marshals of the AAA Texas 500.
Geist and Tiegen were part of a security team of private contractors who defied orders by leaving the CIA annex and going to the U.S. diplomatic compound under assault in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, in an effort to save State Department staff.
Krasinki is starring in the movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which is a screen adaptation of the Geist and Tiegen book detailing the tragedy.
“In a world of playing super action heroes, it’s an honor telling the stories of the real heroes,” said Krasinki, who ordered drivers to “start your engines.”
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Four people were killed, including ambassador Chris Stevens, the U.S.’s chief diplomat in Libya.
Geist and Tiegen said they chose literature as their platform to circulate raw details rather than the cable news circuit to avoid the “spin” of pundits on “Fox or CNN or wherever.”
“The goal of what we wanted to do is tell a story as we lived it,” said Tiegen, a former Marine. “One, we wanted to honor the four Americans that died that night. That was the part that wasn’t being told.
“We know what happened on the ground in Benghazi that night. That’s all we cared about. We don’t care about what’s going on in D.C. or politics.”
He can’t drive 55
Fans were treated to a pre-race concert from rock legend Sammy Hagar, who didn’t disappoint in reviving memories of 1980s kids and the great Texas Jams in the Cotton Bowl.
Though there weren’t 90,000 people on the infield for the concert, thousands forked over the extra $79 to become up-close concert-goers with exposure to the ear-bending melodies of the 68-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
He said it
“All I saw was really the highlights … you know, there’s people that retaliate from time to time, but you kind of have to make it look not quite so obvious. That’s about all I got to say about it. I looked at that and went, ‘Did I just see that?’ and wow. But I look at that years ago, things like that used to take care of themselves, you know what I mean, without NASCAR having to step in.”
— Soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte, who actually had more to say about the controversial run-in between Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.