Andrew Tuttle

These days, Andrew Tuttle races 180 mph inches away from other stock cars each weekend, but six years ago, a stack of government paperwork was keeping his life off track. Then he found DAV.

In 2017, the Special Forces Army veteran was working odd jobs and trying to deal with service-connected ailments—post-traumatic stress and depression—on his own before approaching the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.

“When I walked into the VA, they handed me a big stack of paperwork and told me to fill this out and they would be able to start helping me,” Tuttle said. “And of course, with some of my issues, my attention span, my aggression and things like that, that I was trying to get the help for, it really didn’t allow me to focus and kind of deterred me.”

That changed when he sat down with DAV members as they hosted a Military Appreciation Night at a local Golden Corral.

“It kind of took me back a little bit because I was like, ‘Well, the last time that I tried it, it was a very complex kind of issue’ and I just—I lost focus,” Tuttle said. “And he goes, ‘No, it’s absolutely simple,’ and he told me how to get in touch with them.”

Tuttle welcomes his daughter into the driver’s seat with him before a race at Portland International Raceway in June 2022.

The Caldwell, Idaho, resident thought about how he wanted to be a better father and provide for his family, so he met with a DAV benefits advocate in January 2020 at the Boise VA Medical Center. The benefits advocate served in the Army in Iraq, which made Tuttle feel comfortable.

“And, sure enough, it was exactly that easy. From being handed a stack of paperwork to sitting down for 20 to 30 minutes with another combat vet and getting all the process tips that I needed and getting it all started, it became that simple,” Tuttle said.

An appropriate increase in his service-connected benefits quickly followed.

“Nobody likes to feel broken or feel like they can’t do their normal focus on their daily life,” said the former Black Hawk helicopter gunner.

He was able to focus on being a stay-at-home father to his two preschool-age daughters. He also provided recruiting assistance for the National Guard, often at racetracks.

“I’ve always loved to race,” said Tuttle. “I’ve raced since I was a kid, and it was kind of my passion. I got to recruit, jump in the race car again and run the track.”

Eventually, Tuttle got noticed and was recruited onto a racing team as a backup driver.

“They saw that I was able to go out in front of people and put on a show, and that’s all part of racing really,” he said. “So then I got to live out my dream of, you know, driving fast cars, going fast, racing with 40 other guys an inch apart going 180-plus, and just one thing led to another, so I just took off.”

His dreams of reaching NASCAR are not out of the picture, since the series he drives in is a feeder for the top racing circuit.

“Every day around this country, DAV benefits advocates are hard at work assisting proud veterans like Andrew Tuttle who need guidance on how to properly pursue their VA medical claims,” said National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “Between their military backgrounds and college-accredited training, DAV benefits advocates are powerful allies for veterans and are available at no cost.”

Now a DAV member, Tuttle was eventually able to purchase a car to race in the ARCA Menards Series West, a semiprofessional series that is a feeder for NASCAR. His Ford Fusion No. 39 rolls with a DAV logo and a message to other veterans to seek help with obtaining their VA benefits and to not go it alone.

Tuttle seeks veterans out before and after races to talk about DAV’s services and community. He tells them about his experiences going through the claims process with DAV.

“I thought that it was my turn to speak out and go for some of the stubborn, bullheaded guys like me that don’t like to do that paperwork and don’t have the time or patience to really focus on dealing with the admin side. I let them know that the process of dealing with DAV is so simple,” said Tuttle.

He went on to say his life is better because DAV opened doors to a new life track.

“Now I turn it up every weekend and go run a 750-horsepower race car and go out there and get in front of the crowds still and get them pumped up, put on the show and kind of bond with people,” Tuttle said.

To find a DAV benefits advocate in your area, visit