Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I've Been Up To

In the last few months since posting, I've managed to stay fairly busy. I went to the Coke 600 in May, which is best known for being pushed back to Monday (for the first time in history) and ending early because of rain. I then started to the Prelude to the Dream event before it was (sad) postponed because of rain. That was very sad because I purchased a ticket for my cousin and she made the three hour drive.

I also made it to the Brickyard, where we camped at the track yet again. That was a fun experience and I recommend everyone do it. That trip was notably because I took my new (at the time) boyfriend, who went in as a Dale Jr. fan and left, not only hating Jr, but loving Kasey Kahne. I capped off the season by hitting Eldora for the postponed Prelude race.

I plan on posting here more often, but I'm also found at a few different sites too:

Kevin Harvick Examiner

The Biff Files

Shortly I'll be working at 4-wide and The Final Lap. Big thanks to Katy for finding those sites first! Katy, in case you don't know, is the co-author of The Biff Files. She's also starting up Skirts and Scuffs and if I ever get off my butt and write up a bio, I'll be writing on there too.

In addition, I've also been approved as a writer for Suite 101. Most of those articles will focus on architecture and historic preservation, but I'm sure at some point you'll see an article (or two!) on NASCAR.

I promise not to forget this site though! I plan on posting new stuff shortly about my experiences meeting other drivers, after all, I still have a dozen or so to go...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meeting Kevin Harvick

This one pains me a little to write because I’ve actually had the chance to meet Kevin Harvick twice and yet I have no evidence to prove it. Considering that he’s my favorite driver of all time, this makes me especially sad.

In 2007 I had plans to attend the open house event at Roush Racing, where I would have met several of their drivers. The day before I found out that Harvick had his own session scheduled at Auto Zone in Jackson, Michigan. There were his Busch sponsor at the time. I happily headed there instead, clutching a very large pit road sign that I bought a few months before at RCR.

Kevin was late by about 30 minutes and they made us all stand outside the shop where we waited for him. When he finally arrived, they sent people inside in small groups of 3-4 people at a time. You couldn’t even see him until you got inside the store. Basically getting a look at Harvick was harder than getting a look at Elvis…and he’s been dead for over 30 years.

When we got to the door, we were told that no one could get a picture with him, no one. No one that is except for the store workers and sponsors who made us wait in the lobby for an extra 20 minutes so they could get pictures with him. I finally got up to the table where I proceeded to nearly whack him with my sign. My hands were shaking so bad that I couldn’t even focus. I started talking in my high speed way and told him that I loved him since I started watching NASCAR. He thanked me and smiled, probably thinking I was insane.

This driver appearance was even worse for me because one of the workers told several of us that Kevin was scheduled to sign 400 autographs and as long as they still had tickets left, we could go through the line again. I bought an Auto Zone hat specifically because of this. We made our way back to the man and were told that Kevin was running out of time and he wasn’t allowed to pass out any more tickets.

The signing was for 2 hours or 400 autographs, whichever came first. I left and sat down the street talking on my phone to a friend. I was still there when they brought Harvick by in his special car. He was 30 minutes late and left 30 minutes early. Give us a break Kevin! Some people stood out there for 6 hours and he did that?

In June of 2008 I had the chance to meet Kevin again at the Eldora Prelude to a Dream event. He was signing autographs at the KHI hauler and I darted through the line quick like a bunny so I could buy one of his new hats. I was with my then (kind of) boyfriend who held my place in line.

It didn’t hit me until I got to the front of the line that I was completely decked out in Kyle Busch gear, including a hat and shirt. I apologized for the clothes, to which my guy started making fun of me and Kevin joined in! They got quite a laugh out of me trying to explain. I asked him for a photo and since there were only a few people left in line, he agreed.

I left with a great big smile on my face. Unfortunately before I could get that picture, my guy managed to land a new girl and deleted all his pictures from the event. I’ll probably never get that picture with Kevin, but I hold out hope!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Drivers I Have Yet to Meet

Believe it or not, there are quite a few NASCAR drivers that I’ve never met. I have them on my “life list”, though the odds of meeting some of them are fairly slim. In addition, there are a couple of drivers that I’ve met, but never got pictures with and that’s something I need to fix!

Met - No Pics

Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Kyle Busch
Tony Stewart

Need to Meet

Kasey Kahne
Jimmie Johnson
Jeff Gordon
Dale Earnhardt Junior
Mark Martin
Jamie McMurray
Kyle Petty
Bobby Labonte
Reed Sorenson
Juan Paublo Montoya
AJ Allmendinger
Denny Hamlin
Joey Lagano
Casey Mears
Ryan Newman
Dave Blaney
David Reutimann
Michael Waltrip
Martin Truex Junior
Aric Amirola
Bill Elliot
Kenny Schrader
Scott Riggs
Jeremy Mayfield
Marcos Ambrose
Sam Hornish Junior
Scott Speed
Brian Vickers

I’m sure there are more too, but these are the ones I can think of right off the top of my head. Possibly at some point I’ll get the chance to cross a few more off my list!

Meeting Robby Gordon

I had the chance to meet NASCAR driver Robby Gordon twice and see him another time as well. The first time I met him was in 2007 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis. Somehow I’d gotten separated from the rest of my group and decided to visit his souvenir hauler, not realizing he was signing autographs.

I purchased one of his diecast cars and the lady working there asked if I had a spot in line. When I told her that I hadn’t, she said that it was too late to meet him, but she could put my car in his queue and still have him sign it. I ended up standing there and when he took a five second break to sign a couple of cars, I shouted at him. Yes, I totally shouted at him.

I told him that I just wanted to let him know that I loved him, even if I was too late to meet him. He looked at me, smiled and told me to come on up. I shoved my camera at the first available person, walked to the front of the line and he stood up to lean over the counter and give me a hug. Unfortunately the guy taking the picture missed it.

A month or so later I was in Michigan where he was signing autographs at Menard’s. I calmly waited in line until it was my turn and told him the story of the Brickyard, ending with the fact that the camera didn’t capture that moment. He then went off on a long (or what seemed long) story about how you have to hold the button down, wait for the flash and then make sure it took a picture. Just then my camera flashed and he said, “see? Now you know that picture took”. It was very cute in a strange way.

The odd thing was that during that driver appearance, he was chewing gum quite loudly. I’m surprised you can’t see it in my picture. Another time we saw him at a Menard’s for an autograph signing and there was literally no one in line. I wish we’d taken pictures of him because he was kicked back in his chair, looking like he was just hanging out at home.

Robby Gordon probably isn’t the best driver to meet, but he’s certainly not the worst.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meeting Paul Menard

I’ve had the chance to meet a large number of NASCAR drivers over the last few years and I thought I’d post a few of my experiences for others to share.

In August of 2007 I had the chance to meet Paul Menard for the first time. He was signing autographs at Menard’s in Jackson, Michigan not too far away from the track. The day before I went to a Kevin Harvick signing and met an older woman who just couldn’t stop gushing about Paul and how cute he was. I actually ran into her at his signing and she was still talking about his cuteness.

The line was incredibly long, though not as long as those you’d find at other driver signings. They helpfully put out hats of his near the line so I grabbed one of those for him to sign. I made it to the front of the line and he was just as cute in person as he is on television.

I told him the story about the older woman, he asked if I saw her that day, I told him she was there and in a (very) cute way, he ducked down under the table and said, “does she see me?”. It was quite possibly one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen a driver do! As he was signing my hat, I told him that my nephew was just starting to follow NASCAR and Paul was one of the drivers he wanted me to meet. He asked a few questions about my nephew, took one of his hero cards and personalized it for my nephew.

We joked around about his car and we talked about my nephew for a little bit longer. Paul said that since my nephew was just getting started in NASCAR, there probably weren’t a lot of drivers he didn’t like. I said there was one, he asked who and I said Jimmie Johnson. He looked around for a second and then mouthed, “good choice”. Seeing as how this was just Junior announced he was leaving DEI for Hendrick, I had to laugh.

In 2008 I had the chance to meet Paul Menard again. My best friend Katy and I went to an autograph signing at Menard’s in Indianapolis. We got there halfway through the signing and the store was so quiet that you could almost hear crickets. We wandered through the store until we managed to find the signing, only Paul wasn’t there. Robby Gordon was there, kicked back in a chair with his feet up on the table, but Paul was missing. We wandered around for a little bit and came back to find him standing up and talking to a few people.

I had him sign the cars I brought and threatened to steal his standup. He looked at it for a minute and then said he wished I would because the “thing” was following him from store to store. That led to much joking for the rest of the trip about stealing the standup and saying it was fine because Paul told me I could.

If you get the chance to meet Paul Menard, I highly recommend you do it. His lines are typically a lot smaller than other drivers and in Indiana, we didn’t even have to wait in line to meet him. He’s always very sweet and he’ll pose for pictures with fans. Paul Menard is one of the best drivers I’ve ever had the chance to meet in person.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Congrats All Around

Kortnie Coles managed to survive yet another week on America’s Next Top Model. Congrats to Kortnie for not only ditching Dale Earnhardt Junior, but also making it through two weeks with Tyra Banks!

Another big congrats goes out to Kevin Harvick for finally winning a Nationwide race in his own car. Sadly I missed the race due to NCAA basketball coverage, but I did see his Victory Lane interview. Maybe we’ll see him pull off yet another win in the Cup race.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Missing Bill Davis Racing

When my best friend and I went to Charlotte last year, we took a side trip to High Point, North Carolina. The point of that side trip was to find Bill Davis Racing, where their top driver was Dave Blaney, an Ohio boy. After spending several hours driving in the wrong direction and about to give up the ghost, we found ourselves at the Bill Davis Race Shop.

That trip to Bill Davis Racing and their race shop was one of the highlights of our trip. Their shop was completely open to the public, unlike other shops where you’re hidden behind a plate glass window. We had the chance to walk right into the race shop and wander through the shop, only feet away from the cars, including the car Blaney drove in that year’s Coca-Cola 600.

The staff on hand were incredibly friendly. They didn’t mind that we hung around for a little longer than we should, playing with the dog and talking. They actually encouraged it. I think we were both just in shock that there was a dog in the race shop. We immediately made a mental note to return on our 2009 trip.

Sadly though Bill Davis Racing no longer exists. In the off season they sold to another company that now focuses on making engines and other racing parts. If you missed out on seeing Bill Davis Racing and their race shop for yourself, it was an unbelievable experience. It’s sad that other teams don’t take a page from their book and open things up a little more for fans.