On Thursday, Sept. 18, NASCAR drivers and executives made a pit stop atWalter Reed Army Medical Center to visit patients, staff, and families of wounded warriors enroute to the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.
After visiting some of the patients on the wards and in the Military Advanced Training Center, NASCAR paid tribute to the troops by hosting a dinner with entertainment by the band Candlebox and critically-acclaimed American singer/songwriter Toby Lightman.
It was a who's who in racing and enthusiasts scurried about the dinner tables in the Wagner Gym to get sightings of their favorite driver and autographs. Drivers Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Ryan Joseph Newman, Russell Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Busch, and Greg Biffle who seem larger than life and true daredevils in their racing gear were surprisingly just regular soft-spoken boys next door. Famed football coach and NASCAR Championship team coach Joe Gibbs, three-time former NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip and sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak were also on hand to sign autographs.
Having property in Daytona Beach, Fla. and passing the racetrack on a regular basis, I've been slightly interested in NASCAR. I know the sport has a following bigger than football -- hard to believe. But, after this event, my interest is piqued and I have more questions than answers. I'm looking forward to the energy, excitement and noise the next time I'm in Daytona.