Normally traffic outside the Department of Veteran Affairs headquarters moves at a crawl, but on Thursday morning NASCAR driver Landon Cassill had plenty of room to do a burnout in the Post 9/11 GI Bill-sponsored Chevy and kick up a cloud of smoke, much to the delight of the assembled crowd.
Cassill will drive the car -- whose hood and body is plastered with the Post-9/11 GI Bill logo -- in the Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Speedway Saturday night. VA officials said the goal of the sponsorship is to reach out to more veterans and educate them on the new education benefits, now entering their second full school year.
The VA spent nearly half a million on the car sponsorship and race sponsor recognition, nearly half of the department's $1 million budget for GI Bill advertising this year. But on Thursday, officials said the investment is money well spent, since about one-third of the expected 5.5 million TV viewers for the race will be veterans or family of veterans.
On Thursday, Cassill, 21, was swarmed by photographers and student veterans at the kick-off event, and joked that all the attention made him feel like a celebrity model. The VA is hoping the car and their message gets just as much attention on Saturday night.