RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Gov. Mike Easley will race a few laps in Casey Mears' No. 25 National Guard/GMAC car this weekend to raise money for the car's namesake.
Easley will drive the ``American Heroes'' car Saturday prior to the start of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord. The governor has received several pledges from private donors that will benefit the National Guard Family Readiness Program, Easley's office announced Friday.
The program provides information and referral services to National Guard members and their families on issues ranging from unexpected income drops during deployments to car repairs.
``The men and women in the North Carolina National Guard make significant sacrifices being overseas serving our country,'' Easley said in a written statement. ``I am asking every citizen and business to join in giving a little bit back during race week.''
Easley has had his share of adventures _ and misadventures _ behind the wheel of a stock car.
In May 2005, the governor kicked off a legislative session by driving Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet from the Executive Mansion to the Legislative Building less than two blocks away. As he drove away from his official residence, Easley fishtailed and nearly hit a parked car, but caused no damage.
Two years earlier, he wrecked another of Johnson's cars while driving at Lowe's Motor Speedway.