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Sailors Show Their Colors in Support of Navy’s New NASCAR Truck Racing Team

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Jon Wood, Chevy Silverado 350

Sailors Show Their Colors in Support of Navy’s New NASCAR Truck Racing Team

Shane Linkous, Center for Career Development Public Affairs
U.S. Navy
September 27, 2002

U.S. Navy Story NNS020927-04

FORT WORTH, Texas (NNS) -- The Navy’s recruitment and retention theme “Accelerate Your Life” was driven home to a crowd of 47,000 people at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas, recently.

Fans at the Speedway that day were treated to a special all-Navy pre-race ceremony for the opening of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Silverado 350.

An estimated 100 Sailors and their family members attended the race to participate in the special pre-race festivities, and show their support for the No. 50 Navy Racing Truck and Rousch Racing Team driver, Jon Wood.

The events, which were broadcast live on ESPN, were conducted by Sailors from Naval Air Station Ft. Worth, and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City. Included, was a special public reenlistment ceremony; a Navy color guard performance; the singing of the national anthem by Storekeeper’s Mate 3rd Class, Cornell Randall; and the unfurling of an American flag, the size of a football field.

Then, it was down to racing as driver, Jon Wood, fired up the Navy Racing Truck for the start of the Silverado 350. Although Wood started the race at the back of the 35-truck field, he managed to successfully maneuver to a 12th-place finish; reaching speeds of up to 180 miles per hour during the race.

“We finished well considering where we started,” said the 21-year-old Wood, who’s been racing competitively since age 12. “It’s a huge honor to be racing for the Navy and I especially like it when we race at tracks near Navy bases; because it’s great to have all the Sailors here to support us.”

With an estimated NASCAR fan base of 75 million strong, it’s not hard to understand why the Navy decided to enter the foray of motor sports marketing. The Navy’s Center for Career Development (CCD), which funds the truck sponsorship with its marketing budget, as part of an ongoing retention effort, committed to sponsoring the full schedule of 22 races during the 2002 season.

“As you could tell from the reaction our Sailors received during the opening ceremonies, it’s been a popular idea,” says CCD’s Lt. Fred Cox.

In addition to the Sailors who reenlisted during the Ft. Worth race, Wood has appeared in reenlistment ceremonies for Sailors at races nationwide. With the projected cost to the Navy of nearly $42,000 to replace an experienced petty officer, the reenlistments that have resulted have made it well worth the Navy’s investment.

The sponsorship has also proven successful at building pride for all members of the Navy family, which includes spouses, retirees, parents, veterans, citizen patriots and future Sailors.

“We think the Navy’s involvement in racing is great,” said race fans David and Cathy Alberry, who are also the parents of Fire Controlman 2nd Class, Candy Alberry, who serves aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1).

“This event was great for morale and they’ve treated us well here at the race,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class, Raymond Buquo, of FAIRECONRON Four at Tinker AFB. “We were honored to participate in the pre-race ceremonies and we all enjoyed the chance to meet a lot of interesting people.”

For Wood, the feeling is mutual.

“There are no words to describe how proud I feel when we do the re-enlistment ceremonies,” said Wood.

For more information on CCD’s retention and reenlistment programs, visit http://www.staynavy.navy.mil/.

For related news, visit the Center for Career Development Navy NewsStand page at http://www.news.navy.mil/local/ccd/.

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