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Summerfest pack in the fun

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- A sunny day devoid of clouds provided the ideal backdrop Aug. 24 as McChord Airmen and their families packed the base track and pavilion in celebration of Summerfest 2007. 

After feasting on hot dogs, beans, potato salad and chicken while listening to the various karaoke acts on stage, people had the opportunity to visit a wide variety of booths offering everything from interactive games to a meet-and-greet with the Sweethearts for Soldiers calendar models. 

But the main event of the afternoon was the inaugural NASCAR 400 go-kart race at the track. Each squadron had the chance to take a standard go-kart kit and modify it to reflect its own style, form and functionality. While some squadrons chose to mold theirs after a certain NASCAR design, others personalized the go-kart to make it more representative of what they do on a daily basis. 

The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron's entry had appearance of an APS loading vehicle while the 62nd Security Forces Squadron added a siren to the top of its go-kart. One of the entries from the 62nd Maintenance Group entry looked like a fighter jet. 

But when it came time for the actual competition, the 62nd Operations Support Squadron's C-17 Globemaster III replica took the checkered flag in the one-lap race. 

The recipe for success the 62nd OSS team used to garner the victory was rather simple, said Airman 1st Class Peter Cramer, 62nd OSS, who helped push the kart to victory. 

"We made the kart's shell out of foam, so it was pretty light," Airman Cramer said. "Plus, we had an athletic team to push and a steady driver at the wheel." 

The cart may not have looked as nice on the outside as some of the other go karts, but it was the lightest and most well built, said Airman 1st Class Zackery Riley, 62nd OSS, who also helped push. 

The 62nd OSS team not only had a steady driver at the wheel, but an experienced one, also. Senior Airman Kimberley Curiel, 62nd OSS, who had experience racing go-karts previously, said that when she heard her named being mentioned early on to drive the kart, she got excited. 

"I couldn't wait to do it," she said. "Then I was very impressed when I saw the kart and the fact that they made it in the form of a C-17." 

Everything just came together on race day, Airman Riley said. 

"We looked like an Olympic bobsled team out there -- pure athleticism," he said. 

Even though the team fumbled a couple handoff exchanges in the first heat, things were flawless from there on out. 

"We had total faith in our driver," Airman Cramer said. "I just put my head down and was pushing as fast as I could."