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From raceway to runway

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Carson Buice, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, speaks to visitors in the 77th Fighter Squadron life support section at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Carson Buice, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, speaks to visitors in the 77th Fighter Squadron life support section at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019. Buice explained how pilots used the gear during flight to complete their missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, practices rolling during hanging harness training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019.

Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, practices rolling during hanging harness training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019. The training was designed to give flyers information to increase chances of survival in worst case scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Day, left, and Airman 1st Class Orlando Harris, right, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technicians, adjust the fit of a G-suit worn by Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Day, left, and Airman 1st Class Orlando Harris, right, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technicians, adjust the fit of a G-suit worn by Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019. The suit, which Daly wore during an F-16D Viper ride inflated during high G-force maneuvers to keep Daly from passing out. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Carson Buice, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, takes measurements of Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Carson Buice, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, takes measurements of Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 15, 2019. Buice used the measurements to ensure Bell received a properly fitting helmet prior to his F-16D Viper flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Trevor Griswold, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team electrical and environmental systems craftsman, stands by as Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, secures his helmet at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Trevor Griswold, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team electrical and environmental systems craftsman, stands by as Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, secures his helmet at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019. Griswold and his team prepared the aircraft for Daly and helped prepare him for flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, back, helps Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, prepare for flight at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, back, helps Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, prepare for flight at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019. Bell received a medical evaluation, participated in survival training and attended gear fitting before his flight in an F-16D Viper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Maj. John Waters, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, waves while taxiing his F-16D Viper with Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Maj. John Waters, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, waves while taxiing his F-16D Viper with Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019. Waters and Daly participated in a simulated dogfight which demonstrated training scenarios that keep pilots ready for deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Garret Schmitz, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team safety observer and 55th Fighter Squadron pilot, takes off in an F-16D Viper with Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Garret Schmitz, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team safety observer and 55th Fighter Squadron pilot, takes off in an F-16D Viper with Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019. Schmitz demonstrated the aircraft’s capabilities by hitting speeds in excess of 650 mph and pulling 8.9 G’s during their flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

An F-16 Viper Demonstration Team patch rests on the shoulder of Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019.

An F-16 Viper Demonstration Team patch rests on the shoulder of Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 16, 2019. Bell and Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, participated in media flights which taught them about what Airmen do and about teamwork in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --

Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing and Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team hosted Conor Daly, Air Force Honda race car driver, and Townsend Bell, sports commentator and professional race car driver, April 15-16.

During the U.S. Air Force Recruiting coordinated visit, Daly and Bell had the opportunity to interact with Team Shaw Airmen before receiving rides in the back of F-16D Viper.

From medical appointments to survival training to gear fittings, Team Shaw Airmen taught the visitors how pilots prepare for their missions. Daly and Bell also gained insight on how teamwork in the military lays the foundation for success.

“Whenever you're performing a high-intensity activity and an activity that can be potentially dangerous, you’ve got to have a good crew behind you,” said Daly. “These guys have an incredible crew here and incredible people (who) … make sure that the pilots can go out there and do their job. It's the same thing for us in the racing world.”

Once in their respective cockpits with Maj. John Waters, F-16 VDT commander, and Maj. Garret Schmitz, F-16 VDT safety observer and 55th Fighter Squadron pilot, the racers were introduced to more speed and G-forces than they could have experienced on the racetrack.

Schmitz, who flew with Bell, said they hit speeds in excess of 650 mph and experienced almost nine times the force of gravity during their flight.

“‘Toro’ (Schmitz) really talked me through what we were going to experience and did such a great job that I knew what to expect, but you can't prepare for the amount of thrust to the weight of the vehicle,” said Bell. “The speed just keeps coming and coming and coming and you're just so psyched you don't want to stop accelerating. … You feel the G-suit engage your body for the first time and, at that point, you just have to surrender.”

Part of the flights included demonstrating training scenarios that keep pilots ready for deployments.

The drivers got a taste of what it is like to be in combat from the two highly trained and competent pilots during a simulated dogfight, said Bell. The racers experienced the flow of competitive adrenaline similar to what they feel when on the racetrack.

As Bell and Daly returned to their preparations for the Indianapolis 500, they left with a new understanding of how Airmen get the mission done.

“I think if you ever get a chance to fly in an F-16, you have to do it no matter what fears you may have in your life,” said Bell. “(I’m) super thankful the Air Force has let us come out and do this. This is an awesome opportunity. Our car for the Indianapolis 500 is going to look awesome, so I can't wait to have (the F-16 VDT) out there and hopefully we can go just as fast as a fighter jet on the racetrack.”