Racers pay surprise visit to troops at Camp Atterbury

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal visit with troops at Camp Atterbury.
Published: .
Updated: .

National Guard troops in the middle of summer training got a break Wednesday.

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal paid the soldiers at Camp Atterbury a surprise visit. Earnhardt, son of NASCAR's original "Intimidator," said he felt a little intimidated by what he saw and grateful for the soldiers who do it every day.

The drivers fired a howitzer and took shots - both on the range and in front of the camera.

"You really get a sense of the commitment, the job they do, and how important that is, so it's a great feeling. You get very patriotic when you're out here," he said.

The National Guard sponsors both drivers to the tune of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year. But Wednesday didn't look like a business trip. Earnhardt made it look like fun, going out of his way again and again to mix it up with the enlisted soldiers.

"It's awesome. It shows us that we have support outside of the unit, that people like what we're doing and it gives us a lot of motivation," said Specialist Ethan Kellner.

There are about 6,000 soldiers, many spending two weeks training in the woods and weeds of Camp Atterbury. Many say the visit from Earnhardt and Rahal is the best day they've had since they got there.