Army Guard Adds to NASCAR Racing Stable
By Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 2, 2008 Many NASCAR fans are accustomed to seeing the National Guard name on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
The Army National Guard will sponsor driver Landon Cassill in the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The sponsorship of Cassill, who drives the No. 81 truck, at Talladega ties in with Guard recruiting and retention events to be held during the race. Photo by Nigel Kinrade
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Recently, however, the Guard added another driver and racing series to its roster.
This weekend, driver Landon Cassill will be sponsored by the National Guard in the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.
The sponsorship of Cassill, who drives the No. 81 truck, at Talladega ties in with Guard recruiting and retention events to be held during the race, said Army Lt. Col. Joseph Day, chief of Army National Guard marketing programs.
Those events are scheduled to include an appearance by Cassill as well as a performance after the race by the band Three Doors Down, whose song “Citizen/Soldier” honors Army National Guard soldiers. Guard recruiting booths will be set up along the track during the race.
For Cassill, this weekend’s race will be his seventh start as part of the 2008 season of the truck series. While this is Cassill’s rookie season, he placed in the top 10 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in May and finished third at the Milwaukee Mile in June.
Those wins, Cassill said, largely have been from the efforts of the team behind the No. 81 truck. He said he hopes that, as well as the Guard sponsorship, will bring him success at Talladega.
“We've got the National Guard on board, and I think it's a perfect combination for my first race at Talladega," he said in a news release.
This isn’t Cassill’s first time racing for the Guard. He also drives the National Guard-sponsored No. 5 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He took first place in the 2007 Busch Series 250 race.
Saturday may mark Cassill’s first race at Talladega in the truck series, but he is scheduled to make the rounds of Talladega’s 2.66-mile course the day before behind the wheel of the No. 88 car in the Automobile Racing Club of America’s Re/Max series race. That race, he said, will give him experience with drafting that he can build on for the truck race the following day.
"I learned a lot in Daytona this winter about drafting, but I also learned even more about drafting at some of the truck races that I've ran this year at fast tracks,” he said. “It's going to take a lot of focus to catch on to the drafting techniques on race weekend, but I think the seat time and experience that I'll get from the ARCA race will be able to transfer right over to the truck.”
And perhaps that is something that will translate into a win.
“Obviously, we want to put the National Guard truck in victory lane for [the Guard members], and I feel confident Landon and all the guys on the team can do just that,” said Randy Moss, co-owner of Randy Moss Motorsports, which owns the No. 81 truck.
(Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy serves at the National Guard Bureau.)