TMS pit stops: Hire Our Heroes participants meet Greg Biffle, get the full tour

Posted Sunday, Nov. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Military veterans participating in the Hire Our Heroes program, sponsored by 3M, were treated to a tour of the grounds of Texas Motor Speedway and a chat with driver Greg Biffle before the Sprint Cup race Sunday.

Biffle raced in a car with a patriotic-themed scheme of red, white and blue, designed by Chip Foose, for the AAA Texas 500 in support of the program.

Former Army soldiers Jeremiah Kuehl, 32, and James Gill, 26, are beneficiaries of the program, which helps veterans build a livelihood after the service by offering money to offset tuition and books or, in the case of Kuehl and Gill, tools and equipment.

Both applied for and received $2,500 each for tools so they could enroll at the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, where they are studying collision repair and refinish technology.

“It would have been a lot more difficult,” Kuehl, a South Dakota native, said of the benefit. “A lot of upfront money and an upset wife” without the $2,500 grant.

“And we definitely wouldn’t be here,” Gill interjected in his discernible New Jersey mode of pronunciation.

This weekend represented the perks of the program.

The group met team owner Jack Roush and Foose on Saturday and took a ride in a pace car on Sunday. They also toured pit road and the garage area.

“I am today,” Gill said when asked if he was a fan. “So far, it’s fun.”

Money is what talks

Cowboys and Steelers and Redskins and 49ers, oh my ...

Brad Keselowski gave the unvarnished truth about why more of those type of rivalries don’t exist in NASCAR, particularly between power players such as Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.

“It comes down to who’s paying the bills,” Keselowski said. “In this sport right now, the business model is sponsors. With that model, you’d be a fool to alienate half the fan base over a rivalry because half the fan base pays your sponsor’s bills and indirectly your bills.”

And today, the slope is much more slippery, considering the hate mail that is passed around the world in an instant.

It’s like Confucius says: When seeking revenge dig two graves … including one for yourself.

“I think it’s unrealistic to think anything different,” Keselowski said.

There are no limits

Sprint Cup race day is always more festive than the few days that precede it.

It’s especially true at TMS, where race day includes the Wild Asphalt Circus at the No Limits Garage Party, which seemingly always pushes the limit.

The highlight for one visitor to the party and circus was the small people version of the wrestling Fabulous Freebirds.

The “world’s largest rat” was also a featured attraction for onlookers.

Suffice to say, it’d take a trap the size of Orson Welles to get him out of your utility room.

This river rat was 75 pounds. They can get as big as 200.

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