Q: Well, folks we’ve got a big crowd on hand today at Richmond International Raceway. Race fans here to see some exciting racing and an important message also, a lot of folks are remembering from all over the world – 9-11. And today as part of the pre-race ceremonies Secretary of Defense of the United States, Donald Rumsfeld, is with us. Welcome to Richmond.
A: Thank you very much.
Q: Early this morning when you were up in Washington, D.C. doing the Memorial Service there and coming here – you lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance here this evening. It’s been quite a day for you.
A: Well it has. I also visited Bethesda Naval Hospital to say hello to some of the wounded Marines who are out there. So it’s been a busy day but an important day. And I am just delighted to be here. This is such a spectacular spectacle.
Q: I know you must be tickled going down to the garage, as I know you did at the start of the race. You saw the Army car, the Air Force car all the various –
A: National Guard.
Q: National Guard, they are all down there.
A: They are indeed. I met the crews, the drivers and it was very exciting. My first stock car race was at Soldier’s Field in Chicago back in about 1948.
Q: Bring’s back some memories, I bet?
A: It sure does. And I can tell you those cars didn’t look anything like these.
Q: Mr. Secretary, if you can stand by, we will be right back. We’ve just got to cover some pit stops here.
Q: We are back at Richmond International Raceway and again, I’d like to welcome you here with the Mr. Secretary. What’s your impression of all this? I know you haven’t particularly been a NASCAR fan over the years, in talking with some of your people yesterday, but I think you’ll be one after this.
A: Oh, my goodness, yes. I say, I started watching stock car races back in 1948 so that’s a long time ago. I watched the California race on television the other day and that was exciting. The people here are such wonderful supporters of the men and women in uniform, that it’s just a thrill to be here.
Q: Well I tell you, you see a true slice of America when you come to a NASCAR stock car race.
A: Indeed, they are just wonderful folks and I just am thrilled to have a chance to shake so many hands and say thank you to them.
Q: Well, sir, we certainly appreciate what you do folks do… [Inaudible]
A: Indeed. Thank you so much.
Q: Thanks for coming.
A: I’m proud to be here.
Q: Are we likely to see you at another event sometime in the future if it works out?
A: You bet your life.
Q: You are welcome anytime.
A: Okay. It’s a deal.