Screeching tires, roaring engines and high speeds are appealing to those seeking the ultimate rush, but too often these stunts aren’t performed in the presence of professionals and don’t end well.
Recently, Airmen from Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases had the opportunity to fuel their adrenaline needs by participated in the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Before hitting the track, 20 sponsored Airmen were fitted with real NASCAR jumpsuits to make the experience more real. They were also extensively briefed on the importance of safety while driving one of four stock race cars able to reach speeds in excess of 150 mph.
“We take the safety of our drivers and staff very seriously,” said Matthew Chapin, Richard Petty Driving Experience crew chief. “We place trained instructors inside the cars to help encourage, coach and deter the students from making dangerous decisions behind the wheel.”
Having the freedom to safely stretch personal limits gave each Airman the chance to reach out of their comfort zone or lightly test the waters.
“It was everything that I expected it to be. There were no limitations in how fast you can go,” said 2nd Lt. Shane Lenon, 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron flight test engineer. “I was able to go as fast as I was comfortable to go.”
The event was sponsored by Nellis AFB’s Outdoor Recreation Single Airmen Incentive Program and was provided at little or no cost to the participants.
“I think the trip went great,” said Michael Clegg, chief of outdoor recreation. “To provide Airmen the opportunity to go over 150 mph in a NASCAR car was awesome.”
The NASCAR crews also enjoyed spending the day with the Airmen.
“I like being a crew chief because I love the interaction with the Airmen from Nellis and Creech,” Chapin said. “Everyone made their laps in less than 50 seconds which is impressive for a group this size. It makes my job fun to see the Airmen having fun.”
The SAIP focuses on single Airmen between the ages of 18 to 24 but all trips are open to every rank and marital status. Last year outdoor recreation led more than 60 trips based on Airmen’s interests. For more information on upcoming outdoor recreation trips, visit www.nellisforcesupport.com.