Local hero wins first 'Pit Pass Weekend'

When service members return from Iraq, most of them would like nothing more than some rest and relaxation. They have fought hard for freedom, and have earned the chance to spend a weekend away to recuperate. For one Soldier, that weekend will be at a NASCAR Busch Series race.

Specialist Billy Whitfield, who recently returned home from serving in Iraq, has won a trip to the Carquest Auto Parts 300 in Charlotte, N.C. He will receive his prize during an award ceremony on Tuesday, May 11, at the Pioneer Services office, located at 448 Grant Avenue in Junction City, Kan. Lieutenant colonels Jeff Ingram and Lee Quintas, as well as Command Sergeant Major David Skidmore, are some of the senior officers who will attend.

"I'm not a huge racing fan," says Whitfield, "but I will be after this. It'll be great to get a break. Me and my girlfriend can't wait to go!"

In addition to tickets and pit passes, Specialist Whitfield will receive racing merchandise and get to meet Bobby Hamilton, Jr., driver of the No. 25 Team Rensi Motorsports car. "I may ask [Bobby] if I can take a few laps around the track," says Whitfield, laughing. "Heck yeah -- that'd be fun!"

The Pit Pass Weekend Sweepstakes is a way for Pioneer Services Representatives to reward service members for the sacrifices they make defending freedom. "We're excited to give something back to the military community," says Fred Davenport, manager of the Fort Riley office and a retired command sergeant major. "They do so much for all of us here at home, and it is great working for a company that show's it's appreciation like this."

There will be two more winners announced in the coming months -- one will be going to Daytona, Fla., on July 2, and another will attend a race in Fontana, Calif., on Sept. 4.