Drivers intimidated, but humbled by what soldiers do

Published: .
Updated: .
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is masterful at maneuvering a speeding race car.

He's also pretty handy with an Army assault rifle.

He's a novice when it comes to loading a howitzer, pulling the trigger and sending the shell miles down range.

He said it was a little intimidating, but humbling after experiencing what Indiana National Guard soldiers volunteer to do.

"If you go on a tour and you are overseas firing that thing all day long, that would be a hell of a job man," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt and Indy Car Driver Graham Rahal visited guard troops training at camp Atterbury last week.

The National Guard spends tens of millions of dollars sponsoring their race cars and wants to make the most of it.

Between photo opportunities and manufactured moments, NASCAR drivers spend a lot of time mixing with the enlisted troops.

Earnhardt had the chance of witnessing the swearing in of soldiers re-enlisting in the Guard. The NASCAR driver Earnhardt said it was overwhelming.

"To have some guys who want to add four years to what they are doing says a lot about how much they believe in what they are doing," Earnhardt said.

Some of the troops have gone to war. A few were singled out, getting autographed model race cars.

Handshakes may not seem like much, but after spending a year in Afghanistan, it was a big deal for Kevin Fuller.

"It makes you heart skip a beat," Fuller said. "For me being a race fan, it means a lot being in the National Guard.

Earnhardt said it's an honor representing the National Guard.

Troops said it's awesome that one of NASCAR'S top drivers slowed down for them.