Military News

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Team Dover bonds with the Monster Mile

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


6/3/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- From the flight deck of a C-17A Globemaster III to pit road at Dover International Speedway, the interactions between Team Dover Airmen and NASCAR professionals May 27 to 31, 2015, led to new experiences for both.

Twice a year, NASCAR races into Dover, and twice a year, Team Dover shows up in force. The Spring races saw NASCAR crew members touring Dover AFB and Team Dover Airmen working side-by-side as honorary pit crew members during the races.

"We're extremely fortunate for all the great opportunities Team Dover Airmen and their families can take part in during NASCAR race weekend, from the race weekend social held here at the base to all the events that take place at Dover International Speedway throughout the weekend," said Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "We can't say enough thanks for the many ways Team Dover is able to interact with the both the NASCAR and local communities during race weekend."

Team Dover hosted two tours. A tour on May 27, saw Jennifer Jo Cobb, driver of the No. 10 Chevrolet Silverado, and nine of her crew members tour Dover AFB's Air Traffic Control Tower, the Isochronal Maintenance Dock, the military working dog kennels and a static display of a C-17A Globemaster III.

The tour on May 28 saw NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Dustless Blasting Toyota, his BK Racing team crew members, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Ryan Ellis, No. 1 Advanced Payment Services Chevrolet, and Travis Kvapil, No. 50 Burnie All Wood Self-Burning Grill Chevrolet, both of MAKE Motorsports, take an incentive flight on a C-17 for a training aerial refueling mission. DiBenedetto and his team also toured the Isochronal Maintenance Dock and the military working dog kennels.

"It was awesome; it was cool to ride in the C-17, especially being up in the cockpit," DiBenedetto said. "It was a lot different being that close to another airplane, for me, it's a lot more sketchy than being that close to another race car."

As the weekend approached, the action moved from Dover AFB to Dover International Speedway. Chaplain (Capt.) Quentin Genke, 436th AW Chapel Lutheran chaplain, gave the invocation before the start of the Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket.

"This was the most people I've given an invocation in front of and being on TV," said Genke. "I've gotten texts and phone calls from family and friends across the country saying that they saw me on TV."

The race weekend also saw 60 Team Dover Airmen work as honorary pit crew members for several of the NASCAR teams.
For one of the honorary pit crew members, Senior Airman Brady O'Neill, 436th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, this was a memorable experience.

"It was amazing to be there for the Sprint Cup race," said Brady. "The availability and access to the crews, the pits, the garages and the drivers was really amazing."

When asked which part of the race stuck out most to him, Brady, without hesitation said the start of the race.

"Just the sound of all the cars starting up and going is something I've never heard," he said.

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