Jay Husmann spoke with MSgt Craig Thurman along with Chris Buescher and Ryan Preece with JGT Daugherty Racing at Chicagoland Speedway. Listen to Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk Review on Monday, July 1, 2019, to hear the audio of their conversation.
Thanks to a partnership between the USO (United Service Organizations) and Maxwell House, United States Air Force MSgt Craig Thurman visited Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 400 as a VIP. Maxwell House sponsored the JTG Daugherty Racing No. 37 Chevrolet ZL1 Camaro of Chris Buescher in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series while the USO is an associate sponsor on both team cars, the No. 47 Kroger’s machine of rookie Ryan Preece as well. That deal included MSgt Thurman’s name on the right side just like the driver’s name on the left side.
Attending the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is MSgt Craig Thurman of the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois National Guard, serving out of Peoria, Illinois. MSgt Thurman has served for more than 20 years, following in the family footsteps as the son of a military retiree. His service time has seen him deployed ten times into Afghanistan and Iraq, putting in more than 4,500 hours of flight time and supported missions carrying troops and cargo to their destinations since 2015.
“My career field is a C-130 Loadmaster, Instructor Evaluator on the C-130,” says MSgt Thurman about his military duty AFSC or job. “You guys will see a flyover by 182nd today, so that’ll be fun. Also, the mission just goes around the world. Everything from hauling cargo, troops, and then paratroopers, air-dropping equipment. So it’s just a very unique mission and you get to see a lot of the world.”
Thurman received VIP access throughout the Chicagoland event from being honored at the drivers meeting to riding around the track in the pace car. He also attended Coffee Sit and Sip with the media to share his inspirational story. Fans can see photos and video clips of the conversations on Twitter @JTGRacing.
“For one, I’d like to thank the USO,” says MSgt Thurman about his experience at the track. “They put this on and its an honor to be here with this team. And they hit it right on the head, Chris (Buescher) did there with ‘you don’t see it first hand in all the team aspect of it’ instead of just being in the stands.’ So I’m really excited to go out there, see the team go over the wall, work together. And that’s exactly what the military is about, is team unity and getting the mission done. And I think these guys (No. 37 pit crew) are doing a great job at it.”
Maxwell House wanted to pay tribute through a campaign this year to highlight and show appreciation to the Armed Services members who are serving and sacrificing for our country, both stateside and overseas. The coffee company chose the USO and NASCAR platforms to maximize that exposure.
“First of all our sport does a terrific job with the military and showing our support,” says Chris Buescher on the program honoring our Armed Services members. “I think that’s something we exceed over other sports in a pretty large way. For us to have the opportunity to show some of our military members around, have MSgt Craig Thurman out here to enjoy this race, get to show him a little bit more of the ins and outs of our sport, not just the simple part of it that a lot of people see is just the going in circles. It’s a big honor for us to have the USO on our Maxwell House Camaro today.”
Maxwell House and the USO will continue their partnership throughout the year as the coffee brand and nonprofit-charitable corporation will support each other in various ways. Fans may see more special tributes and paint schemes on the JTG Daugherty Racing cars.