Marines rewarded for hard work with trip to NASCAR race

For Sgt. Mario Land and Pfc. Kyle Hladik, the weekend of May 12, was yet another reward for the pair of Marines. Land, named NCO of the Quarter, and Hladik, the Marine of Quarter, were able to get a unique perspective of a NASCAR Busch Series race as the latest winners of the Pioneer Services' "Pole Position Awards."

For the second year, Pioneer Services is sponsoring the Pole Position Award—a nomination process that rewards members of the Armed Forces who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Those who are selected as deserving by their senior leaders will get to tour the pits and garage area, and receive an up-close look at the excitement of a NASCAR race. 

Stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, N.C., Land and Hladik received VIP treatment during the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway. They were given a full tour of the pit and garage areas, and spent time with the Team Rensi Motorsports pit crew in an area usually reserved for team members. Then, after watching driver introductions while standing on the track itself, they watched the entire race from atop the pitbox in the Team Rensi Pits.

"The best part was the pit stops," said Hladik. "It was cool to see how fast they work on the cars, especially since we were sitting so close to the action!"

Land added, "My favorite part was the first few laps. I've never been to a NASCAR race before, so it was exciting to see the cars when they first started. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to see this."