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Alabama WWII veteran, 100, crosses riding Talladega Superspeedway pace car off bucket list

Talladega Superspeedway (Wruple/WikiCommons)

George Mills stormed the beaches of Normandy with the Army’s 28th Infantry Division, fought in three countries and was a prisoner of war for five months before he was liberated.

On Thursday, the 100-year-old World War II veteran from Decatur fulfilled a lifelong dream: to ride a lap at Talladega Superspeedway.

A fan who enjoys cars and race day at Talladega, Mills rode in the track’s Mustang pace car as he whizzed by at 120 m.p.h.

“Well, it was a great experience,” said Mills, who landed on Utah Beach in July 1944 with the 28th Infantry Division. “I’ve never, never thought I’d have the opportunity to sit in a car like that and drive around the track like that. It’s out of this world.”

The Army veteran also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was captured in Luxembourg by the Germans.

Mills said the Germans made his regiment walk for five months while they were prisoners of war before being liberated.

The 100-year-old Decatur man, who was given the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his bravery, said the high speeds at Talladega didn’t frighten him.

“No, I wasn’t scared. He wouldn’t let me drive,” Mills joked, referring to the Talladega driver who took him around the track.

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