2015 Never Quit Challenge 300 - Interview with Andrew Mellon

Andrew Mellon - NQC Ambassador

The Never Quit Challenge is a Jet Ski Program for combat wounded and veterans, Gold Star Family members of our Memorial Program and for volunteers to come together under challenging adventures that present hardships and teamwork as one unified front. 

The Never Quit Challenge 300 was held during the Hot Products Mark Hahn 300 Memorial PWC race held at Lake Havasu, Arizona. It is an extreme PWC team endurance race that allows for 2 racers, 1 boat and a fully loaded pit crew to assist the Veterans on their pit stops for refueling or rider exchange. 

The NQC serviced 7 race teams on board Kawasaki Ultra Jet Skis with the support of Liquid Militia Clothing, Hydro Turf and Kanalu K38

What was your Role in the Never Quit Challenge 300?

I was a primary ATV driver/ team leader

What was your expectation going into the NQC?

To have all of our NQC Veterans have a great time and earn some podium finishes!

Was the Food and Hospitality from PPF and Kawasaki adequate at the race site?

Excellent

Was there any significant moment that stood out where you believed something strong shifted for you?

Everything was prepared and properly done. Without any pre-training there was nothing else we could have done. I think that watching all of these men and women come together for one purpose is amazing. I didn’t know half the people in the crew but it felt as if we knew them all along. It was great to be able to watch these guys have a blast!

Was there a defining moment that you noticed where everything clicked?

2nd pit stop all of the rust was gone, everyone understood and the butterflies were gone.

What do you believe is unique about the Phoenix Patriot Foundation Jet Ski Program?

Everyone is brought together. It’s about the people involved from the Veterans, the sponsors and the volunteers!

How would you describe the NQC 300?

Awesome!

Did you feel you and your efforts were appreciated?

Definitely

Words for the organizer:

Excellent work, now take a break LOL

Dealer 54 Pit Crew: How would you define your team?

Fu’IN BADASS!

Any other comments?

We want to take care of our Veteran race teams, this means we put safety first in all our pre-preparations. The race promoters need to widen the ‘Hot Pit’ areas, making the ATVs leave constantly is a big safety concern, too much reduction of resources and time not managed well, there is no place to park the ATV’s while waiting, they should assign a secondary zone. We could have had 3 fully staffed and staged pit lanes ready at all times for our 7 race teams. Instead we have to drive slowly through the “HOT” pits, all the while there are spectators, and other pit staff standing in the middle of the drive isle.
That was the one thing that REALLY bothered me. Those people should not be standing in the middle, we as a pit crew are racing too! When I have to yell “excuse me” I am irritated and annoyed at the obvious problems. ‘Excuse me you’re standing in the middle of a drive aisle during a RACE!’ Safety is emphasized and talked about a lot but it’s achieved through the organization that hosts a ‘hot pit’ zone by managing their safety phrases through action; they first need to understand what that means and how it applies to the other side.

Thank you to Andrew Mellon and his family for volunteering not only his personal resources but his time on behalf of our PPF Jet Ski program. It’s not about thanking a veteran, it is all about what you do for a Veteran. Justin exemplifies that Patriotic response of gratitude through service. We truly appreciate your support – PPF