The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

AUTO PACKAGE: National Guard troops wind up entertaining Dale Jr., Rahal, other drivers

  • Print

EDINBURGH, Ind. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal are used to occasional fireworks when drivers get upset at the track.

They saw the real thing Wednesday visiting Indiana National Guard troops at Camp Atterbury. They got an up-close look at some of the weapons and explosives used and they honoured soldiers who recently committed to the National Guard and others who served in Afghanistan. The two drivers are sponsored by the National Guard, and they loved every moment.

"Oh yeah, they're entertaining us," Rahal said after setting off an explosive so big that mud and clay landed nearly 300 yards from the detonation site. "We're not entertaining them. They're the experts, we're learning from them. It's very cool, very unique."

Nearly 4,000 troops are in the middle of training at the camp 45 miles south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt will compete at the Brickyard this weekend. He and Rahal, an IndyCar driver, were scheduled to fly to the camp on a Blackhawk helicopter, but thunderstorms altered the plan.

The drivers' first stop was with a brigade out of Evansville, where Earnhardt and Rahal fired a big Howitzer.

"Most of the time when we're out here shooting, we don't see anyone out here," said Matthew Gumbel, who instructed the two drivers on how to fire the weapon. "It's great for the spirits of the solders."

After taking a couple of shots, Earnhardt and Rahal presented the new recruits with replica cars. Earnhardt gave the brigade a signed car hood and Rahal presented a fire suit, and Earnhardt swore in six soldiers who recently committed six years to the National Guard.

"That was really overwhelming because I'm sure that opportunity will never come again," the Daytona 500 winner said. "That was really a unique experience. I had the sign the (script) so I will never forget it."

The drivers recognized soldiers from the 713th Engineer Company, where they detonated explosives, and did a question and answer session before honouring soldiers from the 219th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

Earnhardt and Rahal left the base in the Blackhawk helicopter.

"It never gets old being able to come out here and see these guys in their environment," Earnhardt said. "You get a real understanding of what's going on behind the scenes, how they train and how they prepare, and what the commitment is all about."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sanders gives other candidates a reality check

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google