CSG 2 Sailor Serves the Nation by Day; Races Stock Cars by Night
GROTON, Conn. – Just shy of his 20-year mark in the U.S. Navy, a senior chief petty officer assigned to Commander, Submarine Group Two serves his country by day; but is pursuing a different form of adrenaline by night.
Senior Chief Sonar Technician Submarines (SS) John Bennett, serving on the command staff at CSG Two has been involved in professional circle track racing or stock car racing for the past three years. To show his appreciation for his country and the sport, the command conducted his re-enlistment ceremony at a nearby race track on June 29.
Capt. Frank Lowery, Chief of Staff, CSG 2 performed Bennett’s re-enlistment and reflected on the military support shown by the crowd.
“When the crowd realized that Bennett was about to swear an oath to defend them, every person in the Waterford Speed-bowl rose to their feet out of respect for him and his family's sacrifice that night,” said Lowery who added that after Bennett finished his oath every person at the event broke into raucous applause to show their support.
Bennett added that he’s been a supporter of the race track not only for their support of the military, but to allow him opportunities to learn more about racing in general.
“I have always been a fan of professional racing since I was a kid. About three years ago one of my senior petty officers checked aboard and needed assistance in his off time preparing his open wheeled modified car for competition,” said Bennett. “I was hooked.”
Bennett took his discipline from what he learned in the U.S. Navy and applied it to the asphalt track by gaining knowledge and modeling his racing style after other successful drivers who he was racing against.
“Actually to learn about race car driving I also watched several YouTube videos featuring in-car camera’s recorded by drivers who I looked up to,” said Bennett. “That way, I was truly able to follow their lines, listen to exactly where and when they were off and on the gas, and I did my best to emulate it on the track in my car.”
Bennett joked about the popular racing moving, “Days of Thunder,” in which the lead character played by Tom Cruise said he learned how to drive by watching ESPN. Bennett took the advice and applied it successfully.
“While I haven’t won any races yet; this is my first year. My goal is just to have fun, but be competitive while doing it,” said Bennett. “The racing series that I compete in is geared toward families and is an alternative to other lifestyle choices.”
Bennett began driving in 2011, but shares the driver’s passion with his daughter. His 18-year old daughter has also been competing for over a year in similar races to gain her skillset.
“I am beyond words, and proud to see my daughter on the racetrack. She actually raced the car before me last August in a women only feature. With her persona it was something I never envisioned she would do,” said Bennett. “By competing in racing together, it has fostered a new and improved relationship between my daughter and me. This is something that we will always have to look back on. “