Local

March 8, 2013

NASCAR visits Luke

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Staff Sgt. C.J. HATCH
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

FROM LEFT: Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sign NASCAR memorabilia Feb. 28 during a visit to the base. The two drivers signed autographs, posed for photos and talked with service members during a meet and greet arranged by the USO.

Two NASCAR drivers visited Luke Air Force Base Feb. 28 with the USO, to meet service members and sign autographs for fans.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez visited while in town for the Subway Fit 500 held at Phoenix International Raceway.

“The USO was pleased to bring these two NASCAR drivers to Luke,” said Oname Thompson, USO communications manager for entertainment tours and events.

“Bringing things like this to our service members is what the USO is all about.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a rookie in the NASCAR Sprint Series and drives the No. 17 Best Buy car. Stenhouse began racing stock cars in the Automobile Racing Club of America in 2008 for Roush Fenway Racing. In only his sixth race in a stock car, Stenhouse won his first ARCA RE/MAX Series event May 10, 2008, at the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.

Daniel Suarez from Monterrey, Mexico, made his official NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at South Boston Speedway in 2011. Suarez finished 11th in the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown and was 2010 NASCAR Mexico Series Rookie of the Year when he posted one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He finished ninth in the 2011 Mexico Series standings with seven top 10s in 14 races. He also competed in a pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races in 2011, both at Phoenix International Raceway. Because of his accomplishments he was chosen as a member of NASCAR’s “Next 9” class in 2011, the class of upcoming drivers to watch.

The two drivers spent most of the morning signing autographs and thanking Luke Airmen for serving their country.

“I would like to thank all the men and women in uniform serving at Luke,” Stenhouse said. “It was an honor to come out, visit and meet those protecting our country.”

The day wasn’t just about the NASCAR drivers visiting service members. It was also a chance for Luke Airmen to see and talk to guys they have only seen on TV.

The USO is working to bring more people and events to Luke. In the past, the USO has brought shows like Sesame Street Live and band performances to the Airmen at Luke.

“We will continue to do what we can here at Luke Air Force Base,” Thompson said. “It makes us happy to bring these unique experiences to the members of our military.”




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