Prelude to a Race:
So our story begins last year when I decided that I would stop saying “Someday I will go to a NASCAR race” and decided that I would be going to a NASCAR race in 2008 if I had to drag my best friend kicking and screaming with me the whole way. Luckily being the best friend that she is she agreed right away to go with me, despite it not being her thing. Since she lives in Vegas we picked the Vegas race. Made sense to me. So I bought the best tickets for the Sunday race that I could afford at the time…and added Sunday Garage passes. I bookmarked up important passages in my GIRLS GUIDE TO NASCAR and loaned it to BFM so at least she wouldn’t be totally lost at the race.
Then something totally cool happened. BFM became a total fan. She is so into NASCAR now…and that is great. She could even tell you how the points break down before attending her first race and I couldn’t tell you that and I have been a fan since I was a wee one.
Then somehow Las Vegas Motor Speedway sent me an email stating that I had purchased garage passes for Saturday not Sunday. This was a mistake on their part but it got me to thinking that it might be a better idea to have garage passes on Friday because it was qualifying day and there would be more activity in the garage. So I called up the speedway and ironed that all out and they kindly obliged me in switching my garage passes to Friday and letting me purchase qualifying day tickets (note to self…next year do NOT buy qualifying day tickets..it is very easy to come across free ones).
About a month or so before the race BFM and I start to scour the websites of our favorite drivers looking for appearances in the LV area we might be able to attend. Finally I found out that Tony was appearing at a Home Depot in Las Vegas the Thursday before the race. I was excited to tell BFM. She was excited because that Home Depot is only a couple blocks from her house (Las Vegas has several Home Depots). This was added to our list of MUST DOs for the weekend.
Then she called me. Houston…we have a scheduling conflict. Her favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, decided to do an appearance at the same exact time as the Tony appearance…only it was across town. WAY across town. DAMN Now what do we do? She insisted that we meet Tony. I felt bad and insisted we meet Jeff. She won (she always does) and our plan was this: Meet Tony then fly like the wind across town to Caesar’s Palace to meet Jeff. Then we found out that Kasey Kahne was also doing an appearance the same time as the other two. This was becoming hard. Robby Gordon was doing an appearance the Wednesday before the race at an Albertson’s across town. We decided that we would start with Robby, definitely fit in Tony, then try to squeeze in Jeff and Kasey in afterwards.
On Wednesday we were able to meet Robby Gordon. The line wasn’t that long and he had hero cards to sign. He stood next to a table hawking Jim Beam. It was your standard cattle call type appearance and Robby wasn’t rude but he wasn’t overly friendly either. Mostly he would sign a hero card or something else if you had it and then you were off and his little support people would offer you a shot of Jim Beam before you left the store.
I did however meet the cutest little boy in front of us in line with his mom. BFM asked him who his favorite driver was and he looked up at us all sheepish and said Tony Stewart! When he found out Tony was my favorite driver too he told us all about how on his video game he always drives a home depot car. So I asked him if he is good at his video game and he said yeah I only crash sometimes so I told him that I usually crash about once a lap and he looked at me and said “You Know That Game?” So cute.
Thursday morning I went downstairs and greeted Misty who promptly told me that she was sick…REALLY sick…as in throwing-up sick. This worried me because I knew she was really looking forward to the races and we had qualifying tickets for the next day. She said that she was gonna call her doctor and see if she could get in as soon as they opened. She was able to get an appointment at 2:15 which is right during the time we were suppose to be inline to get our Tony wristbands. Oh well…I would rather she go to the doctor then I go see Tony… by this time I was thinking well hopefully she will be better for Sunday (it was Thursday). She asked her brother to stand in line to meet Tony with me and I told her that he didn’t have to I was ok not seeing Tony…but BFM insisted and she got her way. I stood in line for a wristband with her brother (she sat with us for about an hour but then left…her brother and I could both tell she felt awful) which we got and then we went back to her house because there was no way in heck I was hanging out at Home Depot for another three hours (Tony was suppose to arrive around 5:00 and at this point it was about 2:20). BFM’s doctor gave her some drugs to help her symptoms and they seemed to be starting to work by the time it was time for her brother and I go stand back in line to meet Tony. She was very insistent that we still meet Tony – and frankly I could see her point. If roles were reversed I would want her to go see her driver and not sit around watching me be ill. We then went back to the Home Depot and the line had grown quite a bit so we were towards the back. I assume Tony got there pretty much on time though because otherwise there was no way he could have gotten through all of us in that amount of time. While this appearance was also pretty much just a cattle call type appearance…it was way different than meeting Robby Gordon. Tony was sitting behind a table but it was on a platform so he would be like at eye level with the average standing person even though he was sitting…He was far more friendly than Robby Gordon though. He said hello to us, asked us how we were doing. Took the time to look through the book I was having him sign because he hadn’t seen it yet and didnt’ remember doing it. Tony seemed in a great mood and was extremely friendly.
I figure by the time we had gotten our turn with Tony I had been standing outside about 2 hours (four if you include the time I spent in the other line getting my wristband to meet Tony). It was totally worth it too…and I would do it again (although BFM made me promise that next year it is all about her getting to meet Jeff Gordon).
Next up…part 2: Qualifying Day