The last race of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Season is now a part of history, but before the season ended, the JCRI team was asked to host a group of men who have never experienced short course racing and trucks charging one another with over 800 horse power. The men who were lucky enough to get their first look at this type of racing, 5 Navy Sailors from the USS San Diego.
As they entered into the pits the first thing they noticed was the sound of the trucks that were out for qualifying. They have seen things that a majority of us Americans could never even fathom, but the sound and sight of those Pro 4's soaring over the back step up of the Lake Elsinore course, stopped them dead in their tracks. Describing them as "kids in a candy store" would be an understatement.
Their day continued on and after meeting drivers, gazing at the race trucks and learning the in's and out's of the series, it was now time for the action they waited all day to see. They took to their seats and the Pro2 class took to the green flag. 18 trucks powered forward for 16 laps, through major crashes and heavy contact, the Sailors were on their feet for every second of the action. The racing goes by fast, but it only takes seconds to become hooked to the adrenaline that goes along with it, and these guys were hooked. Now fast forward to weeks after the race, it was time for the JCRI team to experience what life aboard the USS San Diego was like. The team arrived on base in San Diego where they were greeted by familiar faces. Questions began before the team was even aboard the ship. The LPD 22 spans 684' in length, reaches speeds in excess of 22 knots, can launch and recover helicopters as well as bring aboard Amphibious Assault Vehicles. Once you step foot onto the ship you witness the hustle of the crew going about their daily routines and its in that moment that you take a deep breath and realize just how large this ship is. Standing in the ships well-deck where they bring on the AAV's you start to imagine what it would be like taking on the ocean water and watching the vehicles come in. Soldiers will tell stories, make memories and history in this very spot. As the team continued to make their way through the halls and up the narrow stairways, they got to see what life on the ship would be like while out to sea. From the seats in the galley to sitting under the light in a dental chair or standing in the bridge, the USS San Diego offers it all. The tour took over two hours and the JCRI team had only experienced a brief portion of what actually takes place.
Working with NASA, the USS San Diego is in preparation for the space capsule recovery testing where the Navy will recover an Orion test capsule into the ship's well-deck. The Orion programs goal is to eventually land on Mars. Jeff Carpenter Racing would like to extend their gratitude to Commanding Officer, CAPT Grotewold, Executive Officer, CAPT Menoni, Kathy DiMaggio, MCC Holly Gray and the entire crew of the USS San Diego for taking a moment to show the team a brief look into life on the USS San Diego.