NORAD, speedway celebrate 50th anniversaries
MORRISON, Colo. – NORAD personnel and race car drivers have a lot in common, the deputy commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command told the crowd at the National Hot Rod Association’s Mile High Nationals event on July 13.
“We are committed to excellence, in the business of high performance, and work in conditions where there is no room for error," said Lt.-Gen. Charlie Bouchard.
The general was invited to Bandimere Speedway outside Denver, Colo., to represent NORAD as both the command and the speedway celebrated their 50th anniversaries. Also taking part in the festivities was the reigning Pro Stock champion, Jeg Coughlin Jr., who is a big supporter of both the Canadian and U.S. military. To show his support, Coughlin drove his Pro Stock machine decked out with NORAD 50th decals and sporting a NORAD 50th anniversary helmet, which had been painted especially for this race.
Bouchard also acted as an honorary co-starter for the day's races, standing between two Top Fuel dragsters as they roared from the starting line and ate up 1000 feet of racetrack – more than three football fields – in just over four seconds. He then watched trackside as Coughlin tore down the speedway and won his first race of the day.
After his race, Coughlin invited Bouchard to his pit area, where he gave the general a replica of the helmet he wore during the race. Coughlin signed the helmet “NORAD, Happy 50th. Thanks for keeping an eye on us. Jeg Jr.”