Posts Tagged ‘Autism 400’

Engines roared, no one snored

June 1, 2009

Lloyd Graham displays the 850-hp Dodge engine that powers Air Force No. 43.

Lloyd Graham displays the 850-hp Dodge engine that powers Air Force No. 43.

Dover was lit up in every direction Sunday for the Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR race. I never realized how heavily invested our federal government is in NASCAR. Outside the Monster Mile’s massive grandstands, I spoke with Lloyd Graham who’s part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience Mobile Marketing division. He stood by a NASCAR racing machine powered by a Dodge engine and sponsored, primarily, by the U.S. Air Force. Motorheads surrounded him as he explained a brand new engine on display. “It’s 850 horsepower,” he told me. “It will be run hard, but probably for only 600 or 800 miles,” said Graham. “Then back to the shop to be totally taken apart and gone over and examined with a microscope to find any problems – the slightest crack or sign of wear.” The oils too will be carefully examined. “These teams spend a million dollars a year on engine oil alone,” said Graham. It’s all mind-boggling and impressive.

A few hundred yards away, tucked behind the track’s monster, a car sponsored by the U.S. Border Patrol attracted attention. It was a place to learn about the border patrol and the car it sponsors, and sign up for a stint with Uncle Sam’s immigration service if you wanted.

Inside on the infield, the National Guard had a major facility set up.

It took a while for all of it to click in my mind. NASCAR fans, country music fans – they represent rich recruiting ground for the government. “It’s all motherhood and country here,” one fan said when I mentioned the different government-sponsored exhibits and cars.”

What a show. What a country.