Casey Mears Earns Frequent-Flier

Miles with the Utah Guard

 

Written by Shad West

Published March 28, 2007

 

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#25 NASCAR Driver Casey Mears flies in an Apache flown by a 211th Aviation pilot.

Photo by Shad West

#25 NASCAR Driver Casey Mears flies in an

Apache helicopter flown by a 211th Aviation pilot.

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — Casey Mears, driver of the #25 National Guard-sponsored car on the NASCAR circuit, swapped his driver's suit emblazoned with patches of the team's sponsors for a personalized, olive-drab flight suit during a recent visit to Utah.

 

Hosted by the Utah National Guard, Mears and members of the National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team spent the afternoon Mar. 8 at Camp Williams. Members of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) practiced with Mears and his crew on various weapons used by Utah Guard members.

 

Three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and their crews from the 211th Aviation met the Hendricks Racing Team jet at the Salt Lake International Airport. The choppers transported the team and a FOX Sports crew to Camp Williams for the weapons training.

 

After firing on the line, Mears boarded an AH-64 Apache helicopter for the 20-minute ride to nearby Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, where he greeted fans and spoke with local media.

 

At the raceway Mears gave lucky fans memorabilia and coveted tickets to his next race in Las Vegas.

 

"I just had the ride of my life," said Mears, addressing 100 or so fans after landing at the Miller Motorsports Park helipad.

 

After starting the Guard car and revving the engine for fans, Mears boarded another Blackhawk bound for the airport where he met up with the rest of his crew.

 

Just before his team departed Salt Lake City for Las Vegas, Guard officials presented Mears with a birthday cake topped with a camouflage tank.

 

Mears was visibly touched by the cake and the day’s events.

 

“It was the thrill of a lifetime," Mears said.

 

Click here to watch a slide show of Casey Mears' day with the Utah Guard.