U.S. Army racers enjoy Afghanistan experience

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 8 - Intense, thrilling, exciting and tremendous. Those were just some of the descriptive terms both Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Jerry Nadeau used after recently returning home from a week-long trip to ...

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 8 - Intense, thrilling, exciting and tremendous. Those were just some of the descriptive terms both Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Jerry Nadeau used after recently returning home from a week-long trip to Afghanistan.

Schumacher, who pilots the United States Army NHRA Top Fuel dragster, and Jerry Nadeau, who drives the United States Army NASCAR Winston Cup car, spent the New Year's holiday week touring various military bases, while visiting with troops.

"It was an awesome experience," added Schumacher. "It was great to go over there and show our support. You really gain an appreciation for what these men and women are going through on a day-to-day basis. I truly respect each and every one of them for the commitment they have made to defend our country and freedom."

"The trip was great," said Nadeau during a break in testing at Daytona International Raceway. "I had a great time. There was so much to gather and so much to see. It was more of an honor to see them (the troops) than it was for me to be there. It was neat to talk to them and shake their hands. It makes you proud to be an American."

Schumacher and Nadeau both had an opportunity to participate in a number of activities ranging from shooting weapons to rides in Blackhawk helicopters to driving tanks.

"All of those deals were phenomenal," related Schumacher, who heads for pre-season testing next weekend at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. "The technology that the U.S. possesses is just remarkable."

"We weren't there to have fun - we were there to support the troops. But, it turned out to be a fun deal," offered Nadeau. I had a good time and I'm glad I went. As for driving a tank, they handled pretty good -- maybe, a little better than the Cup cars. They've got good brakes."

Given their experience, both Nadeau and Schumacher now have an even greater appreciation for what the military is all about.

"No question about that," stated Schumacher. "We have the best military in the world. I knew it before, but this trip further solidified my feelings."

"My dad served in the Army," said Nadeau. "I think if I wasn't in racing - with what I saw there - I think that would be a really cool career to go through. I think it teaches you a lot about life and I think it makes you strong as a person."

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Series NASCAR Cup , NHRA
Drivers Jerry Nadeau