NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Rick Crawford and Brendan Gaughan spend time overseas with American Troops. Pride, Freedom and Support of our American Service Men and Women was the focus for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Standouts Rick ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Rick Crawford and Brendan Gaughan spend time overseas with American Troops.
Pride, Freedom and Support of our American Service Men and Women was the focus for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Standouts Rick Crawford and Brendan Gaughan last week as they participated in a military tour sponsored by NASCAR and the Department of Defense Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve.
The five-day tour included visits to all four branches of America's military forces including base tours, scheduled pep rally's and interaction with troops in Germany, Bosnia and Spain.
"The trip allowed us to give something back to the troops that defend our freedoms everyday throughout the world," said Crawford driver of the #14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford F-150. "Without their dedication we would not have the opportunity to enjoy the things we do and the ability to race each weekend."
Accompanying Crawford and Gaughan on the trip were NASCAR personalities Mike Wallace, Ernie Irvan, Richard Childress, Humpy Wheeler, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond, Chocolate Myers and Speedway Charities Executive Director Major Gen. Thomas Sadler. The group embarked from Charlotte's Air National Guard Base Monday, Jan. 27th enroute to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, home of the 86th Airlift wing, the largest in the Air Force.
After visiting with troops, answering questions and signing autographs, Crawford and Wallace were quick to locate some not so aerodynamic trucks to race. The duo found massive snow removal machines to quench their need, speeding down the bases taxiway at a top speed of 50 mph.
"Mike chose this massive truck, with an enormous snow plow on the front," explained Crawford. "I put the pedal down in my smaller and faster machine and beat him to the line as the troops cheered us on. The troops are unable to attend our races throughout the year, so Mike and I thought we'd bring some action to them."
Gaughan driver of the #62 Orleans Dodge found the support and rally of the troops unbelievable. "It's amazing to see how prepared and trained the men and women who are protecting us each and everyday are," said Gaughan. "With all the training and services they must perform to stay prepared, they are very in tune with what is going on in the sport of NASCAR."
Part of the tour included an opportunity to experience the war-torn country of Bosnia. "When you get that close to the action and see the way people are forced to live, it makes you proud to live in such a great country," said Crawford. "You take for granted what you have and how lucky we are to race for a living.
Overall the tour was a major success promoting a stronger alliance between the stars of NASCAR and our Military Forces overseas. New relationships were forged and fans made as the group spent time with as many troops as they could.
"This trip was one of the most rewarding of my life," said Gaughan. "I can't think of a better way to head into Daytona than that of visiting our military. They looked up to us as heroes, but in the truest sense the real heroes are those that protect us each and every day."
The 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series begins a new season Friday, February 14th at the Daytona International Speedway. Live coverage of the series can be found on the Speed Channel and MRN affiliates beginning at 12:30 pm.