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NASCAR Celebrities, Civic Leaders Visit Deployed Troops

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2003 – A group of NASCAR celebrities, team owners, track owners and civilian employers of Guard and Reserve members left Dec. 29 for a five-day trip to Southwest Asia to visit deployed service members and highlight the importance of support for the Guard and Reserve.

Tour participants plan to visit several thousand U.S. service members in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan during the five-day trip.

Officials from the National Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which is cosponsoring the trip, said the visitors will speak to troops, sign autographs, and see first-hand the vital missions U.S. Guard and Reserve forces are performing in Southwest Asia.

Among the NASCAR celebrities participating in the tour are drivers Johnny Sauter (Nextel Cup), Brendan Gaughan (Nextel Cup), Geoffrey Bodine (Former Cup Driver), Ron Hornaday Jr. (Busch Series) and Rick Crawford (Craftsman Truck).

NASCAR teams are also well represented, with Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing, Jack Roush of Roush Racing and Tony Liberati, crew chief of Roush Racing. Also joining the group is Jeff Hammond, motor sports commentator for the Fox network.

Joining them on the tour are representatives from companies and civic organizations that have distinguished themselves through their support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve, officials said.

These include representatives from Speedway Children's Charities, Tyson Foods, Miller Brewing Company and DH Griffin Wrecking Company.

Also on the tour are Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn; Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam conflict; and retired Rear Adm. David Janes, acting national chairman for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The visit is co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Entertainment, Speedway Children's Charities and the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

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