::Gov. Easley Didn't Wreck This Time
From Raleigh Chronicle Staff And Wire Reports
Monday, May 21, 2007
CONCORD, NC - Unlike the last two times he got behind the wheel of a race car, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley didn't wreck the stock car he piloted on Saturday.
During a NASCAR exhibition in downtown Raleigh a couple of years ago, Easley slammed a race car into at least one parked car and the curb near the legislature building after losing traction in the powerful vehicle.
Previously, Easley had almost totaled another racecar on the track after spinning out in a big crash.
This time, however, Easley made it all the way around the track and went a few laps around the track prior to the start of the NASCAR All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord.
This time, Governor Easley drove the Casey Mears' Number 25 National Guard "American Heroes" car in an effort to raise money for the North Carolina National Guard Family Readiness Program.
Governor Easley has taken up National Guard issues on a national level, saying in interviews that the war in Iraq has caused many guard units to be depleted of equipment and personnel that are needed for local disasters and storm responses.
The governor of Kansas echoed those sentiments after a tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas, saying that a large percentage of equipment needed for clean-up was overseas.
"The men and women in the North Carolina National Guard make significant sacrifices being overseas serving our country," said Easley in a statement to the media. "Their families feel their sacrifice and our National Guard Family Readiness Program helps out with such things as car repairs, late mortgage payments, or things that families with an unexpected drop in income would experience."
According to the governor's office, major contributions to the fund have already been pledged by the NC Bankers Association, Progress Energy, Speedway Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports.
"We certainly encourage the entire NASCAR community to support our National Guard and we hope the great people of North Carolina will do the same," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports in a media statement about the event.
Donations to the NC National Guard Family Readiness Program are being collected through Speedway Children's Charities and can be made online through a special link at:
According to the governor's office, there are about 12,000 members of the North Carolina Army and Air National Guard in 164 units as well as another 10,235 Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force reservists.
Since September 11, 2001, more than 10,000 members of the NC National Guard have been mobilized in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.
Also, during the same time, more than 3,800 members of the guard have been called to duty to respond to hurricanes, floods, ice storms and other disasters, says the state.