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Team Dover continues community traditions: NASCAR, Dover Days

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Things livened up around here May 3-6, 2018, with the local community hosting both the annual Dover Days historical celebration and the biannual NASCAR race at the Dover International Speedway.

Airmen invited NASCAR drivers and teams to join them for an orientation tour of the installation with stops at the 436th Maintenance Squadron metals fabrication shop, the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 3 to fly a C-5M Super Galaxy simulator, and the flightline to view a static C-5M.

On May 4, NASCAR teams invited approximately 20 Airmen to join them on the track as honorary pit crew members where they met with team members and watched while the crew expertly worked on the performance machines during practices, qualifying laps and ultimately the “JEGS 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race.

Jennifer Jo Cobb, driver of the No. 10 Driven2Honor Chevrolet truck, personally invited 12 female Airmen to join her for the day. The Airmen spent time with Cobb and her crew learning more about the sport and the work that’s put in behind the scenes to keep the vehicles in racing condition.

For those Airmen who could not participate in the honorary pit crew opportunities, a NASCAR signing event was held in conjunction with the installation’s monthly First Friday social at The Landings.

Airmen shifted gears the morning of May 5 to watch the community’s largest annual parade in downtown Dover. The participants all dressed in attire that Dover’s traditional colonial settlers would have worn. The day pays homage to the rich history of the First State and its capital.

“This event is one of the main reasons why I enjoy living in Dover,” said Laura Kantor-Chupp, First State Community Partnership Program manager. “It is the one day everyone seems to come out of their houses, sit on their porches and watch the community come to life. We are truly lucky to live in a city with such rich history and the willingness and kindness of people to talk about it and include you in its reality.”

Meanwhile, at the speedway, members of the 436th Security Forces Squadron, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians and firefighters manned static displays at the Monster Mile Youth Nation. There, children could climb on the specialized vehicles while the Airmen answered their questions.

A Dover AFB Honor Guard team presented colors during the opening ceremony and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William Cooper Jr., 436th Airlift Wing, delivered the invocation.

After Saturday’s practices and qualifying laps, Airmen watched the “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series Race.

The weekend wrapped up May 6 with the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race.

“The race and pre-race experience was amazing,” said Tech. Sgt. Jerry Ivey, 436th Airlift Wing Command and Control Operations reports NCO in charge. “It was a great opportunity for our Airmen to see the technical side of a race and to see how much team work is associated with the crews.”

Ivey, a big NASCAR fan, said Dover AFB Airmen are lucky to be in a community that is also home to a speedway.

“The teams and drivers go out of their way to show their support to the military,” Ivey said. “Just this week, Spencer Boyd of the #76 XFINITY Series car had military members sign the back of his car in a box that said, ‘Support the Troops.’ [The Dover International Speedway] also reaches out through the USO offering free tours and tickets to military members. If any team sees a military member, they even bring that member into their pits and garage and show them everything they do.”

At the end of the weekend, nearly 70 Team Dover Airmen received special behind-the-scenes access to one of the community’s staple attractions, while other Airmen reached back to the community’s historic roots. All received a greater appreciation of the Dover experience.