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Changing of the Guard
NASCAR driver meets NHANG
New Hampshire Air National Guard Master Sgt. Al Beaulieu tries his hand at changing a race car tire while NASCAR driver Joey Logano and Jerry Gappens, executive vice-president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, look on during a visit with members of the 157th Refueling Wing at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth on Wednesday. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)
A Connecticut native, Logano, considers NHMS his home track, and he scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory there in 2009.
Logano described the process of refueling a race car mid-race and learned firsthand from guardsmen about the even more impressive process of refueling in-flight fighter jets coming in and out of combat zones.
Grappens called what the refueling wing does the “ultimate pit stop.”
Cheers and laughter resounded as teams of two raced to see who could jack up the car and change one tire the fastest.
Hutchinson led a moment of silence for all first responders who lost their lives 12 years ago on 9/11 and talked about the impact that day had on the men and women at the Guard base.
In addition to looking back, Hutchinson also looked ahead, talking about the palpable excitement around the base’s selection as the home to the first next-generation refueling tankers, KC-46A’s.
Logano, who has been on at least two USO tours, said he appreciates getting to see firsthand the work of the nation’s servicemen and women.
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