By Spc. Armando R. Limon, 10th PCHOctober 8, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Soldiers and civilians from all over Fort Bragg came to see driver Jeff Arend and the DHL Toyota Solar funny car at Sports USA, Sept. 16.
A free lunch sponsored by DHL provided sub sandwiches and pizza for the first 250 people who arrived to the event. A funny car is a type of car used for drag racing.
Arend, who drives for Kalitta Motorsports in the National Hot Rod Association, greeted drag racing fans, posed for photos and signed autographs during the event.
"This was my first time visiting an Army installation," Arend said. "I have a lot respect for the U.S. military."
The DHL team has visited various military bases though.
"The team tries to go to the military bases close to the tracks so that way we can show our support for the military," said Holly Cope, business development and marketing promotions manager for DHL.
This is the biggest military base that the DHL team has been to in two years, she added.
The body of the funny car was lifted to allow visitors to look at the 8,000 horsepower engine.
"The vehicle can reach speeds over 300 mph in four seconds," said Arend.
At the end of the event, Arend held a brief demonstration with the funny car in the parking lot of Sports USA. The car was raised on stands to allow Arend to rev the car and spin the tires in air.
First Sgt. Leon C. Cosey, Headquarters, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was given the opportunity to start and rev the funny car. He was selected for the occasion by Sgt. Maj. Terry R. Schneider, XVIII Airborne Corps G-3.
"It was an exhilarating experience," said Cosey. "It was almost as fun as jumping out of airplanes."
Tommy Davis, a Fayetteville native, was also given the chance to sit inside the funny car and rev the engine.
Davis said he is a long-time racing fan and was surprised when the DHL team gave him the opportunity.
The DHL team also gave a surprise to Spc. Christopher Cole, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, when he was given a VIP ticket for the zMAX Dragway NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at Concord, N.C., Sept. 18.
Cole said he has been a fan of the sport since 1997. The ticket will allow him to stand near the starting line with the DHL team at the dragway.
For additional photos from this event and others featured in the Paraglide, go to www.paraglideonline.net.