GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- NASCAR Driver Casey Atwood and the Navy NASCAR Team experienced Navy boot camp for two days, Jan. 29-30, during a visit to the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes.
Navy car No. 14 co-owner Armando Fitz, of FitzBradshaw racing, crew chief Jay Guy and other members of the pit crew accompanied Atwood.
"The Navy's sponsorship is different because I've gotten to do so many different things, like spending 24 hours on a submarine and going on an aircraft carrier," Atwood said. "Coming here was a chance to look at the recruits' first steps toward getting to that submarine or carrier."
Guy, crew chief of the Navy NASCAR team, was presented with a chief's anchor cover device by the chief petty officers at Recruit Training Command (RTC).
"As the crew chief of the car, they thought it would be appropriate if I wore a chief insignia. This (the Navy sponsorship) is something to be proud of; our team is representing hundreds of thousands of Sailors - men and women around the world," Guy said.
The NASCAR Navy team experienced several boot camp training scenarios as a part of their visit.
After just two hours of sleep, the crew reported to the Dive Motivators, where they attempted to pass the initial physical screening for special programs, such as SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen, Diver and Explosive Ordnance Disposal programs.
The crew continued their tour of RTC with breakfast at the galley and a pit crew competition at Pacific Fleet Drill Hall. Two teams of RTC Staff, instructed by the Navy NASCAR Team, competed changing tires in a pit stop scenario for best time. The winning RTC Staff at the dual tire change wrenched out a best time in 34.55 seconds.
RTC staff gave the crew an opportunity to appreciate gas masks in the confidence chamber. The Navy NASCAR Team suited up in Navy coveralls and gas masks to endure the same experience that recruits go through.
"One of the important things they were talking about was trusting what the gas mask really does," said Fitz. He explained the similarity of trust that if his driver says to his crew chief that there is something going on with the car, he has to trust that the crew chief is going to take care of it.
Staff also trained the crew in recruit fashion on the M-9 pistol, shotgun and the M-16 assault rifle. Staff focused on the accuracy of the crew, and Atwood impressed onlookers with a 98 percent accuracy using the M-16.
The team was able to observe portions of Battle Stations and participate in the Navy ballcap ceremony, where they were given Navy ball caps with "Drive Navy" embroidered on the back.
They continued on the tour to see recruit in-processing and attend the recruit graduation ceremony in the Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall, and signed autographs for students in "A" School training at the Naval Station Student Exchange.
The Navy NASCAR Team learned at the graduation how recruit divisions earn flags for their strengths as a team. Atwood stated that this year the team is going to earn flags too...checkered ones.
Atwood and the Navy NASCAR Team open their season Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway.
For related news, visit the Naval Service Training Command/Naval Station Great Lakes Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/greatlakes.