First of all let me say that I am not a NASCAR racing fan. I know nothing of the point standings, or how they are even tabulated. But because it is such a huge part of the American culture of today, you can't help but to absorb it almost by accident...No pun intended. And since this week-end is the Daytona 500, for those of you that do follow it, you may find this story amusing.
It was on a Friday at work, in the summer of 05. It was almost closing time , and I could see my sales manager going from office to office, stopping briefly, then moving on to the next one. She finally got to me, and asked if me and my son would like to go to M I S ( Michigan International Speedway ) on Sunday as guests of Chevrolet. We would be provided with VIP passes, pit passes, and great seats for the race. I could give a rats ass about going, but I called my son and he said sure why not? So I got all of the admittence items from my boss and went home.
We got up at 4:30 Sunday morning for the 80 mile drive. Things went great until we got about 25 miles from the speedway, then it slowed to a crawl. Now people, this was about 6:00 am for a 1:00 pm start. I'm very accustomed to traffic jams for huge sporting events, since I've had season tickets for U/M football games for 30 years. But this was frickin crazy! It took 1 1/2 hrs to go 25 miles. We were finally parked in an old cow pasture about 1/2 mile from the track, and thank God a shuttle van was whisking folks to the grandstand. When we finally got admitted in the gate, we made our way to the hospitality tent provided by Chevy. By then we were starving, and the smell of pancakes and sausage and eggs was wafting about everywhere. As we found our table, and a few other friends, we sat to eat. One of the people eating at our table, was a squirrelly looking little guy that everyone was ooing and aahhing over. Ocassionally some little kids and some hot chicks, would approach him to get an autograph. Mostly he was gracious, but often he was quite abrupt...maybe he was nervous? One of my pals said his name was Jimmy Johnson...BFD! After breakfast we had lots of time to kill, so me and the boy followed the rest of our table to what they call the pit area. There you could see the race cars up close and personal. And they were magnificent! Colorful, loud, sleek, and powerful. Interesting for even a non fan such as myself. As we were perusing the cars, my boss asked a favor of me. It seems that every year they have different vehicles that serve as Pace Cars. This year they had 28 Dura-Max diesel 3/4 ton ton pick-ups, that was all honorary Pace Cars. Now heres the deal, it seems that one by one a driver from 28 different dealerships was to pick up a Nascar driver in the pit area, and he would hop in the bed of the diesel and be driven around the track for a lap. Waving to the crowd, like Roman Legions headed into battle. I said I would do this only if my son could sit in the truck while I drove it around the track, they said OK.
As all of the designated dealer drivers were given their final instructions, we were given the keys and we found our truck. Slowly, in single file, we approached the pit area. We were # 25 in line and had no idea who our passenger would be. When we finally got to our desinated pick up point, low and behold, a guy in a frickin Dodge uniform hops in the back. His name was Elliot Sadler. So here I am at M I S , slowly driving around the track with this waving Dodge guy in the back. We were told not to exceed 20 mph. Now the crowd at a U/M football games is always about 110,000. The crowd at M I S is about 135,000! It was bedlam! Not only were these people super fanatical, but there is a camping contingent on what they call the 'infield', that harbors nothing but drunks. And drunk chicks showing their tits to my 15 year old. My smiling 15 year old I might add. While we were making our final approach toward the pit area, I hollored out the window to Sadler, and asked him to sign our Chevy hats since we got him safely around the track in one piece. He said sure, but he didn't have a pen. My son is always prepared for such crap, and he happened to have a Sharpie, so I passed the hats and pen to him and had him sign them. Just as we came to a stop in the pit, right next to my sons open window stood Kid Rock! One foot away! He grabbed the digital camera and snapped a few pics, and we were done driving. But as Elliot was being led away to his car to drive in the race, I then realized that the fucker stole my sons Sharpie pen. Well by then it was too late and he was long gone, Sharpie and all. Ya know karma came into play that afternoon, because on the 9th lap he blew a tire, and was out of the race for the day. Served him right!
We really didn't care to stay for the whole race that day, and booked a little early. We caught the shuttle back to the cow pasture and while we were trying to find our car, a very strange situation hit us . We were surounded by a sea of empty returnable bottles EVERYWHERE!!
You wouldn't believe it...thousands of emptys! I finally found the car, and my son spent the next 45 minutes jamming my Cavalier to the absolute busting point. So not only did we have an exciting father /son bonding day, but made over 60 bucks in emptys, AND saw lots of drunk chicks titties!.........Thats my NASCAR story.........Peace....Galen