Wednesday, November 05, 2008

NHRA Drag Racers Visit US Troops in Kuwait and Germany

Thanks to Okie Campaigns...

Hoo-ah: NHRA Drivers' Group will Participate in USO-Sponsored Post-Season Visit with U.S. Troops in Kuwait and Germany

For the fourth consecutive year, a group of drivers from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) will take part in a post-season, USO-sponsored trip to visit Army/Air Force personnel stationed at the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) in Germany. During this year's tour the drivers' contingent will first stop in Kuwait to visit with U.S. troops stationed there before flying on to Germany and the second leg of their goodwill mission.

Six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson, two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jim Yates, 2006 POWERade Pro Stock champ Jason Line and Top Fuel driving ace Cory McClenathan will participate in the late November trip to visit troops stationed overseas in Kuwait and Germany.

For more than 67 years, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been providing morale, welfare and recreational services to U.S. military personnel and their families. The USO is a nonprofit, charitable organization that relies on the generosity of the American people to support its programs and services. The USO will be providing air transportation for the group's trip to Kuwait and Germany, and GM Racing will ship 1,500 souvenir gift bags to the two destinations for distribution during the visits. The 435th Services Squadron at Ramstein AB will host the NHRA drivers and provide transportation and logistics support during the group's stay in Germany.

As in the previous visits in 2005, '06 and '07, the Army Special Forces Association, Randall Shughart Chapter 64 based in Carlisle, Pa., will be spearheading the Germany-portion of the visit as the drivers' group advance team. Members of the Shughart Chapter have supported the wounded at LRMC with t-shirts, caps, sweatpants, sweatshirts, international calling cards and other items. Accompanying the racers on the trip will be SFC (R) Wayne Reed and MAJ (R) Dieter Protsch.

Six-time NHRA champion (1992-93, 1995, 1998-99, 2001) Warren Johnson will be making his fourth post-season tour with the troops. Commonly referred to as "the Professor" of Pro Stock, the legendary racer, innovator and engine builder has captured 96 victories (second all time to John Force's 125), 138 No. 1 qualifying awards, six U.S. Nationals crowns, and made 150 final-round appearances in a career that dates back to 1971. Johnson became the first professional driver in the history of the NHRA to compete in 500 races, and in April 2007, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.

"It's an honor for me to be able to do this," Johnson said. "We owe so much to those that serve in the military and this is just a small way for me to say thank you for all that they do for each and every one of us. This is something we need to do to support the people that give us the freedoms we have back here at home."

Jim Yates drives the Wiley X Eyewear Pontiac and is a two-time NHRA champion, winning back-to-back Pro Stock titles in 1996-97. In a career spanning 20 years, the Virginia resident has captured 25 victories, advanced to 58 final rounds and earned 29 No. 1 qualifying awards. Yates has finished second in the NHRA points standings three times (1995, 2001-02), in the top five of the Pro Stock standings eight times and in the top 10 of the points standings 14 times. Yates was part of the NHRA contingent that visited American troops in Germany in 2005, '06 and '07.

"We get so much out of this trip," Yates said. "It's the highlight of my year, visiting the troops and thanking them for all the wonderful things they've done for us. Without their heroic efforts we wouldn't have the freedoms we have today."

Cory McClenathan drives the Fram/GMC Top Fuel dragster and has compiled an impressive record during his tenure as an NHRA competitor. In his 17 years as a Top Fuel driver (excluding 2001 when he entered just one event), the Indianapolis resident has 30 wins, has raced in 53 final rounds and earned 32 No. 1 qualifying awards. McClenathan has ended the season in second place four times (1992, 1995, 1997-98), in the top five of the points standings nine times, and 16 times in the top 10 (the most top 10s by any current Top Fuel driver). McClenathan will be making his fourth USO trip this year.

"It's an opportunity for us to let the troops know how much we appreciate what they're doing," McClenathan said. "I speak for the whole racing community when I say we're very lucky to do what we do for a living, and thank you to the fighting men and women for protecting our freedoms. Once again, the USO trip is going to be awesome and I'm looking forward to it."

Jason Line, a former USAF airman, will be making his first USO tour with the drivers' group. Line clinched the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock title in only his third full season of racing in the class by driving his Summit Racing Pontiac to four victories in nine final-round appearances in 2006. Line was the 1993 NHRA Stock eliminator national champion and previously worked as an engine-dyno operator for the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR program. Line has 15 career national-event victories in 34 final-round appearances, has five straight top-10 finishes and set the most recent national top-speed record (211.69 mph) at the 2007 ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

"I feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to go," Line said. "I'm a former airman so I can relate to some of the things the troops are doing. It's going to be fun and if we can brighten somebody's day while we're there, and let them know we're thinking about them, then it's a mission accomplished."

In times of peace and war, for more than 67 years the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of entertainment and comfort to service men and women. As the bridge between the American people and their troops, the USO supports the nation's armed forces by providing needed services, including entertainment, rest and recuperation, education, supplies and connections to home. USO tours are an essential part of the USO's mission of boosting troop morale. To learn more about the USO and how to support the troops, visit


Post a Comment

<< Home