Taya Kyle: Chris Kyle's Widow Receives Stonewall Jackson Award from NASCAR

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Taya Kyle, the widow of Chris Kyle, upon whom the film American Sniper , starring Bradley Cooper, is based, was honored by NASCAR before the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on Sunday. She became the first woman ever to receive the Stonewall Jackson Award.

According to a report from People magazine, the Stonewall Jackson Award is given to "those individuals who demonstrate the highest standards of patriotism."

Prior to Sunday's race, Taya Kyle talked about Chris Kyle's love of NASCAR and how it came to be.

Kyle claimed her late husband initially wasn't a fan, saying he "never got into it."

It was after attending a NASCAR military appreciation event that Chris Kyle became hooked.

"He got to go behind the scenes and he saw the pit crew, and he thought they were such bad-asses because one of the guys broke his finger during the change and didn't even stop and just kept going," Taya Kyle said. "Everything was so precise, and then he got to see the strategy behind the race and all that, and he was in love with NASCAR from then on. He was just like a ridiculous fan after that."

Chris Kyle got to meet Dale Earnhardt, Jr. once, and that sealed the deal for him.

"Meeting Dale Jr. was really cool to him because there were some high-ranking officials who were in the tent, and he remembered Dale saying, 'You know, what? They can wait. I'm talking to these guys; these are guys on the ground,'" Taya Kyle said. "And he spent some time laughing with them and talking with them, and that really endeared him to Chris."

How nice that NASCAR awarded Taya Kyle with the Stonewall Jackson Award. In addition to the honor of being the first female recipient of the award, she no doubt feels her husband's eternal pride.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.