News: Team Dover's additions to an American tradition
By Airman 1st Class Samuel Taylor and Airman 1st Class Jacob Morgan
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- NASCAR fans were treated to the sounds of roaring stockcars, F-16 engines and the soft billowing of American and checkered flags at a triple-header event May 13 to 15 at Dover International Speedway, Del.
The weekend featured the Lucas Oil 200, 5-Hour Energy 200 and FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks.
It was three days of festivities highlighting military and community bonds. From flyovers, to honorary pit-crews, Team Dover left its mark at the 'Monster Mile.'
The events kicked off May 12 with a C-17 Globemaster III and Isochronal Dock tour at Dover Air Force Base, Del., for ThorSport Racing and Red Horse Racing pit-crews and drivers.
"As a team we normally do not get the opportunity to get away from the racetrack and do fun and interesting things. It was nice this weekend in Dover to get away from the track and participate in a tour at Dover AFB," said Bob Heilbrun, Red Horse Racing No. 7 car crewmember. "The tour only motivated us next year to hopefully get to fly in one of the planes. It was a really fun experience and I hope we make it an annual event."
Friday's truck race featured more than 25 Team Dover members serving alongside professional pit-crews in the pits of the 'Monster Mile.' The camo-clad crewmembers proved welcome additions to pit row. One such member, Staff Sgt. William Harrington, 436th Mission Support Group food service supervisor, found himself catching tires in the heat of a pit-stop by the ThorSports Racing's No. 13 truck, driven by Johnny Sauter.
"I'm really proud to be able to do something for the Dover AFB servicemembers," said Sauter, whose team is currently in second place of the Camping World Truck Series. "They do amazing work every day and don't usually get recognized for it."
In addition to the truck race, May 13 featured a free NASCAR social at The Landings Club. The event featured a live band, a micro-racing track, children's entertainment and Sprint Cup drivers, including A.J. Allmendinger, No. 43 car driver, and Carl Edwards, No. 99 car driver, giving autographs.
However, Dover AFB's involvement in NASCAR was not limited to the base. It also set up shop at the Military Expo Village, organized and supervised by the United Service Organization in conjunction with Dover Motorsports. The Military Expo Village, situated in the Fan Zone at the Speedway, featured static displays, demonstrations and exhibits of military technology from various military branches and units.
"The presence of Explosive Ordinance Removal raised awareness that Air Force members are risking their lives conducting EOD missions, not just Army and Marine teams," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Adjoodani, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of quality assurance and EOD.
Festivities on May 14 included a C-17 Globemaster III flyover and an invocation by Capt. Joshua Rumsey, chaplain, 436th Airlift Wing.
The race on May 15 featured Allmendinger's No. 43 car, which is co-sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. The No. 43 car led last year's race at the 'Monster Mile' for 143 laps, only to drop to 10th place on the last lap due to a flat tire.
"[Dover International Speedway] is my favorite track on the circuit," said Mr. Allmendinger. "It has high banks, is really fast, and I've had a lot of success there over the years."
Unfortunately, the AF co-sponsored car was plagued by engine problems this year, which forced the No. 43 team to withdraw from the race. Due to the car's withdrawal, the team dropped from 11th place to 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.
"This was my first NASCAR event and it was a great way to be introduced to the sport," said Col. Mark Camerer, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "It was awesome to see military members and members of the community working together at one of Dover's internationally recognized venues."