This is a long note and was written at 1 AM.
Well it’s Thursday morning and I am so out of it time wise. I don’t know if I should be sleeping, eating breakfast or outside on the trail of NASCAR stuff.. I do know that I have to give a big shout out to James and Lorri. Like the Bud Lite commercial: “I LOVE YOU MAN”. You two rock and I hope one d…ay we can return the favor when you come out to Dega.
FanFest at Fremont St. was not a complete success. I know Las Vegas Motor Speedway and NASCAR wanted it there, to increase awareness and draw in to people but for the fans that have support them for years here in Las Vegas and surrounding towns we got run-over literally. There was no crowd control on the fan’s side of the red carpet. There was pushing and shoving and made for a very worrisome for us who to get here early and wait it out to be in the front. I would recommend that there is a separate area or event for real NASCAR fans to get to interact with their drivers. LVMS this year had a Nationwide autograph session with about the same number of drivers and it went very well. Get there early, @ 200 fans, and then you walk the signing table and get your autograph. When that concludes the drivers walking the Red Carpet . Drivers can wave, smile, point, jesture and ham it up for the cameras. This is my idea of how to run this one event.
Drivers who went the extra laps for their fans where I was standing on the Red Carpet were Brad K., Ryan N., Kyle B., Kevin H. and Dale Jr. Brad K . waited while I struggled to get his Miller Lite die cast from my jacket. Ryan N. signed our die casts will the silver sharpie that we handed to him. Some drivers will only sign with their own pen. There are a lot Kyle B., haters out there, I will say Kyle takes care of his fans. Kevin H., I wave him over to say “Truck owners Champion”. Maybe he remember me from last year or maybe just because I had on my Dale Sr. Hall of Fame Jacket.. Kevin said “Thanks , you got anything for me to sign?” I had a car for him to sign but could not bend down to reach into my bag to pull it out. The people behind us were pushing and if I bent over I would have been shoved into the railing. I said: “ yes, but I can’t get to it., I’ll catch up with you at Daytona Fan Fest.” He said “I’ll be there.”
Finally Dale Jr. and yes he has his haters out there too. Some driver took a fast walk down the Red Carpet, most drivers spent time with the fans, Dale Jr. walked the Red Carpet just like his dad would have. If you had Earnhardt gear he was there signing it for you. Suzanne called Dale Jr. over with “Dale please sign mamaw’s cookbook” He saw the cookbook and came over. I opened the book and he saw all the Earnhardts who had already signed and said “Man that’s a lot of us.”. I said “Thanks JuneBug”. Then he signed a photo of his Mom N Pops Camaro (Suzanne), the die cast of the same car (James) and his 2001 Pepsi 400 car (Lorri). So each member in our group got an item signed all of which will find a place in my Earnhardt Room. After the last driver passed us and crowd behind thinned enough I got bent down and start organizing what I had, I looked down there was Jr. signing stuff 30 feet, I finally had everything packed I looked down the Red Carpet and Jr. was further down the carpet but was still signing. Dale Jr. knows he is the face of NASCAR and even if he doesn’t really want to be, he handles his status well. I think he learned that from Dale Sr.
As the day ended back at the casino, Suzanne and I met Mike Helton in the garage. I said rather loud, “Suzanne, that’s Mr. NASCAR, Mike Helton.”. He said “Hi folks”. We told him we had just come back from FanFest on Fremont St. He asked “How’d you like it?” So I told him. “It was good but I like it better when its at the track.” He said “you folks enjoy you stay here”. I said “we will, we used to live here. Now we live in Dega but we came back for this.” He said “wait a minute you moved from Las Vegas to Alabama?”
I said with a big grin on my face “Yep, wanted to be closer to racing and have a house with some land around it.”.He asked how many races we go to and I added a couple and said “6”. He said “You folks are fans!” We smiled, nodded and waved by to him and got into his car and he was off.
That was it for you day. Not too bad.