By Karen Christiuk
Hold on to your helmet and rev up your engine because on August 17, NORAD is coming to NASCAR.
NASCAR, the legendary megalithic stock car racing series, is holding its 3M Performance 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) and is inviting the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) along for the ride. This year, the 50th anniversary of NORAD will be one of the NASCAR themes, and it’s hoped that the crowds of 130,000 Americans and Canadians will take notice.
“We’re delighted that NORAD will have a strong presence at NASCAR this year,” says Lieutenant-General Charlie Bouchard, NORAD Deputy Commander. “I am sure everyone will be thrilled to see and hear our NORAD fighter jets roar over the speedway after each national anthem is played on August 17.”
Lt.-Gen. Bouchard will be attending the NASCAR race as a guest of the MIS president and says that a 50th anniversary of NORAD booth will also be on display so that attendees will be able to learn more about the organization.
“It's a great opportunity for us to get the message out to the public that for the last 50 years, NORAD has stood guard over our skies and continues to evolve to meet new demands,” says Lt.-Gen. Bouchard.
At first glace, the pairing of NASCAR and NORAD may seem a bit unusual, but Lt.-Gen. Bouchard says that the two groups actually have a great deal in common.
“Being in Detroit, which borders Windsor, Ontario, reminds us of NORAD’s strong bi-national relationship, where Canadians and Americans work together 24 hours a day,” says Lt.-Gen. Bouchard.
This is the second time this summer that Lt.-Gen. Bouchard has been involved in a racing event in celebration of the 50th anniversary of NORAD. On July 13, he was an honourary starter at Bandimere Speedway’s National Hot Rod Association’s Mile High Nationals race in Colorado.
“It’s clear to me that our fighter pilots and NASCAR drivers both use speed and accuracy to accomplish their missions,” says Lt.-Gen. Bouchard. “Whether you’re guarding North America or racing on a speedway, you have to think quickly and act decisively. In both our worlds, there is no room for error.”
For more information about all of the events surrounding NORAD’s 50th anniversary, please see www.norad.mil/50.