NHRA racers visit Ramstein, LRMC

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards

Four competition racers from the National Hot Rod Association visited service members and their families at the base exchange here Monday.

Pro Stock drag racers Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Rickie Jones, along with “Bigfoot” monster truck driver Dan Runte, made their way through the doors of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center equipped with pictures, coloring books and stickers.

“We’re here to see the troops and thank them for everything they do for us,” said Anderson, a four-time world champion. “Just to see the scope of everything that goes on over here; the in-depth training and all the logistics is absolutely unbelievable.”

The Summit team came to Germany as part of their annual tour sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment.

“It’s been an enjoyable trip — eye-opening,” said Runte, who has made two trips to Germany to visit with troops. “I’m here to see people smile, to meet and greet with Airmen and their families, and say thank you for doing what you do and allowing people like us to continue to race like we do.”

Runte has seen his fair share of close calls and dangerous situations on the track, but nothing, he said, could prepare him for his trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

“It was heart wrenching and eye-opening at the same time; a lot of young people are here putting their lives on the line for us,” said the 15-year driver of Bigfoot. “It’s probably the hardest thing we did while we were here, but at the same time it was an awesome deal to come here and see the smiles we put on all of their faces.”

The whole team was greeted by the young and old. They exchanged goody bags and signed lithographs for smiles and hugs inside the base exchange.

“This is why we do it,” Anderson said. “There is nothing more heartwarming than to see someone’s eyes light up because they recognize you. I’m glad I was here to be able to do that this year. I will definitely be back next year.”