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.