Air Force Racing Car Featured at 185th ARW Air and Ag. Expo

  • Published
  • By Richard Murphy
  • 185th ARW/PA
The Air Force racing car, built and designed by NASCAR's Richard Petty Motorsports, was featured at the 185th Air Refueling Wing's Air and Ag Show at the Sioux City Air National Guard. Steven Johnson, the mobile marketing representative from Richard Petty Motorsports, showed off the sleek, $400,000, 850 horse power racecar to the thousands of spectators in attendance.

Sitting among a variety of farm equipment and large cargo aircraft, the Air Force car stood out with its Air Force blue paint job and a large Air Force logo on the hood. Spectators got an up-close view of the custom built car and a chance to ask Johnson questions about the car and Richard Petty Motor Sports. Spectators also had an opportunity to speak with both active duty and Air National Guard recruiters to see what the Air Force has to offer.

As part of a deal with the United States Air Force, Richard Petty Motorsports provided the Air Force racing car to help recruiters draw in new recruits. In his presentation to potential airmen, Johnson explains the similarities between the Air Force and NASCAR. "We have drivers, the Air Force has pilots; we have crew chiefs, the Air Force has crew chiefs; we have mechanics, the Air Force has mechanics."

In addition to the car, Johnson also displays a model Dodge engine equipped with timers to test how fast spectators can use a speed wrench to successfully remove and reinstall the valve covers. Depending on their speed, potential future airmen could win t-shirts, hats, or water bottles. Johnson states, "We are looking for kids who are good with tools. In the Air Force, like NASCAR, the speed wrench is the most important tool that they use."

According to Staff Sgt. Jeff Bridges, an active duty Air Force recruiter out of Sioux City, the car attracts positive attention. "In one day, we got about 17 leads and one of them is all ready to join." Bridges added, "The car just kind of drew the recruit's attention over here, [Johnson] told her about the car, and then the recruiter stepped in. She is going to join in a couple weeks."

Like many of the airmen currently serving, Johnson knows what it is like to leave home for long periods of time. He travels across the United States showing the car at air shows, high schools, country/western concerts, and NASCAR events. He said, "I left in February and I will be home for Thanksgiving. I am gone all NASCAR season."

While he travels nearly all year, he enjoys working for Petty Motorsports and the United States Air Force. He said, "If you are looking for a career that is a going to be rewarding to you and you family, the Air Force is the way to go. I have worked with other branches and I just think the Air Force has quality people. The Air Force takes good care of their people."

In addition to the Air Force car, Richard Petty motorsports and their drivers contribute to the community through a variety of charities including the Victor Junction Gang, a foundation that offers children with terminal diseases a chance to visit their facilities in North Carolina at no expense to the children or their parents. Those interested in learning more about Richard Petty Motorsports, the Air Force car, or any of their charities can visit their website at

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