Airman Gets NASCAR 'Royal' Treatment
(April 24, 2010)
|LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (4/21/2010 - AFNS) -- It's not
every day the morning starts with a phone call from a NASCAR
driver, but that's exactly how a 56th Maintenance Group
Quality Assurance inspector began work April 8 here.|
|Staff Sgts. Damon Thurman (right) and Charlton Dubose pose with NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth April 10, 2010, during the Subway Fresh Fit 600 NASCAR race at the Phoenix International Raceway. Sergeants Thurman and Dubose are 56th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspectors. U.S. Air Force photo
by Airman 1st Class Sandra Welch
Staff Sgt. Damon Thurman's supervisor handed him the phone
and Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black
car, was on the other end, inviting him to be his honorary
pit crew member for the Subway Fresh Fit 600 April 10 at the
Phoenix International Speedway.|
"I didn't know what to say," Sergeant Thurman said. "I don't
get overly excited, but I think this is pretty cool."
As the recently-announced winner of the 2009 Chief Master
Sgt. of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes Award, which named
the Air Force's crew chief of the year, Sergeant Thurman was
selected as Matt Kenseth's honorary pit crew member and
represented Luke Air Force Base.
On race day, Sergeant Thurman was welcomed in Matt Kenseth's
suite by the driver himself. Along with his guest, Staff
Sgt. Charlton DuBose, a 56th MXGQA inspector, Sergeant
Thurman had a front-row seat to all the action including a
personal tour of the transporter and pit area, brushing
shoulders with drivers, standing with the pit crew, and
watching the race from the pit box with the crew chief.
Sergeant Thurman, a NASCAR fan since age 10, has attended a
number of races, but none compared to this checkered flag
"I enjoy going to races, and this has been extraordinary
because I've never been in the infield nor had such an
interactive, first-hand experience," he said. "Being in the
pit box, seeing the strategy and race data analysis as it
occurs during the race was really cool. You see it's a lot
more than just driving around in circles as some people
would say. You see the pit stops on television and they seem
fast, but when you're right there, you find out just how
fast they are.
Each year Crown Royal holds a "Your Name Here 400" program,
whereby the grand-prize winner is the namesake for the
spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond
International Raceway. This years race honors servicemembers
by having a military-themed contest in which all nominees
demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a
selfless act which made them a hero.
"The Crown Royal team was overwhelmed by the heroism of each
and every servicemember who entered the 'Your Name Here'
contest, and we are honored to have this opportunity to
thank them for their service to our country," said Rob
Mason, the Crown Royal senior brand manager.
In keeping with the theme, Crown Royal and Mr. Kenseth's
team are also recognizing servicemembers at races throughout
the season, choosing Sergeant Thurman for the Subway Fresh
"I feel honored to have been selected and am grateful to
Crown Royal and Matt Kenseth," Sergeant Thurman said.
"He's very humble, diligent and cares about his fellow
Airmen," said Master Sgt. Bryan Presley, 56th Maintenance
Group Quality Assurance chief inspector. "It's very easy to
work with Sergeant Thurman; he always has a positive, can-do
attitude and never shies away from a challenge."
Sergeant Thurman expressed what an incredible experience it
"I never thought I would reap any recreational benefit from
winning, but this was an awesome experience," he said. "It
sure beats the yard work I had planned."
By USAF Capt. Amy Westn|
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Air Force News Service
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