You would have thought the president was arriving at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, as a United State Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco MH65C Dolphin helicopter delivered the winner's trophy to the 1.99-mile track.
The trophy will be awarded following Sunday's running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, CA.
The helicopter reportedly came from an unknown location in the Bay Area and landed on the road course in Turn 11 with the trophy safely in tact.
Once on the ground, it was all business when two men dressed in black suits and wearing white gloves (along with David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford) hand delivered the trophy to an awaiting UPS Truck.
The Big Brown Truck then delivered the trophy to the Wine Country Winner's Circle, where it was securely placed on a wine barrel after walking a red carpet.
Tax dollars well spent there...Huh?
"What better hands to place the trophy in than the U.S. Coast Guard?" said Ragan, who took a ceremonial ride in the UPS Truck around the road course with the trophy. "It was pretty cool watching the helicopter land on the road course at Turn 11 and then taking the trophy to the winner's circle. This is the closest I've ever been to a winner's trophy before the race."
"The crewman who hand-carried the trophy from the MH65C Dolphin was Petty Officer Second Class Bryan Patrick—a hardcore race fan," said Sam Creech, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, San Francisco. "When he is not flying on rescue missions or serving as a counter-terrorism precision aerial marksman/sharpshooter, he is a helicopter mechanic, responsible for tuning the Dolphin's dual 1,300 shaft horsepower engines—delivering the trophy was a truly special treat for him today."
In case anyone attending the race or living nearby missed the helicopter on Wednesday, don't worry. The Coast Guard will be taking part in the fly-by minutes before the green flag is waved this weekend.
"The Coast Guard is honored to serve our country and we are grateful when we are invited to showcase our service at national sporting events and venues like Infineon Raceway," Creech said. "It was unique today—our helicopters usually deliver injured mariners from the perils of the sea, but today, we delivered the trophy for the All-American sport of NASCAR."
The green flag is scheduled to wave on Sunday at 2 p.m.