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.