Our race weekend started on Thursday with a quick interview with Tony Stewart. If you have been around here any length of time you know two things about me. First is that I am a Tony Stewart fan. Secondly is that during the race season I will mention every one of Tony’s Office Depot Appearances that I know about (and any other appearances as well) here on the blog. The reason I do this is that I genuinely like going to Tony’s appearances and I like to suggest that if you are fan you go to one if you can possible swing it. They are fun I promise. I got the worst sunburn ever standing in line at the parking lot of a Home Depot in Rancho Cucamonga. Let’s just say the next day at the track multiple people told me I was sunburned and needed to put on more sunblock. It was weird telling them that I knew I was sunburned and had gotten it at the local home improvement store NOT at the track. But I have to tell you if you are going to go to one of the appearances of ANY driver get there early….real early. Most appearances are limited to a set amount people- so usually wristbands or tickets are handed out and they can go early. I personally know someone that wanted to see Carl Edwards at a local store appearance in Vegas the same day as Tony’s appearance. She went only a couple hours before he was suppose to be there and there were NO wristbands left. So get to the store as early as possible to get your wristband. You usually don’t have to stay in line after you get your wristband…but many people do:
It looks crazy I know. But there is a camaraderie that builds when you are standing in line. How can it not? You are standing in line usually for several hours. You end up talking to your neighbors in the line. Now it’s been my personal experience that this happens in the lines for other drivers too- but the Tony fans just seem extra friendly and welcoming but that might just be my bias there.
I have mentioned this many many times- but I LOVE that one of Tony’s sponsors is Office Depot because I have always been far more likely to wield a pen then say a drill or a hammer. It’s a better fit for me personally. I have spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the office furniture section of various Office Depot locations because we have been giving the awesome opportunity to interview Tony when we go to races where he is doing an appearance. It’s always fun to stand there with the other people who are going to interview Tony and watch the customers wander through our area looking at us like WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? This last time, there was a man pushing his basket right through our area with the Office Depot backdrop looking at us like DO YOU PEOPLE ALWAYS JUST HANG OUT IN THE FURNITURE SECTION OF THE LOCAL OFFICE DEPOT OR WHAT?
When Tony gets to the Office Depot he usually works with the television media first:
See told you we are just standing in the furniture department. Bet you didn’t envision THAT when you contemplate us interviewing Tony.
Then it’s on to print and internet media for Tony- which includes us. At the Office Depot this time, it started with Valli from The Fast and The Fabulous presenting Tony Stewart with his 2011 Hottest Driver award. It was fun to witness her presenting the trophy (an adorable basket of different hot sauces) and explaining the bracket system to him and showing him how he won (by a landslide I might add):
It was fun because if you remember I mentioned The Fast and The Fabulous Hottest Driver Tournament several times during voting. I got to see it from beginning to end. You should definitely pop over to The Fast and The Fabulous to read about the presentation.
Then it was our turn to talk to Tony.
Amy: Tell us about driving the cab in Las Vegas. How did it go?
Tony: It was interesting. It’s not very often that you can semi have free reign to drive a stock car around the city but we got to take Elvis Presley, David Copperfield and one of the Miss Sprint Cups for a ride yesterday and a couple of fans too. It was definitely a cool experience.
Misty: Did the fans know what was going to happen?
Tony: No. That was the best part about it. We met at Lucky Cab and did some of the skits there then went straight to the casino. Seeing the look on people’s faces as the car went by was pretty cool. Then as we were driving people around, we kinda made the same route instead of taking people to random spots we took people around the same lap. Every time we went by there were more fans lined up to take pictures so it made it pretty fun.
Amy: We also wanted to know about the F1 swap that is happening. Can you tell us about that?
Tony: That’s going to be fun. It’s a great chance to live out a dream of getting in an F1 car. We are doing it at Watkin’s Glen where we have had a lot of success. I know two-thirds of the track that we are going to be running but we are going to be running the whole course so there’s a part of the track that is going to be totally different that I have never ran before. I met Lewis when we did a Mobil 1 shoot here recently- he’s a great guy. I am really looking forward to working with him out there.
Amy (who has to totally give credit to this question from her Facebook friend Beth for the suggestion): Can you tell us your favorite thing about owning Eldora?
Tony: My favorite thing probably is when we have a big event and we have a packed house and I go up on top to watch the races and I watch the fans having a good time. Especially when the sprint car races are there or the late models are there and you can tell they have their favorite driver that they love and their driver that they love to hate and it’s fun to watch. It’s like the whole crowd will react. Some of them will be on one side of the fence and some will be on the other side of the fence. When things happen you can see both groups reacting . It’s fun to be on top of all that and be able to kind of look and oversee everything and see that everybody is having a good time. That absolutely makes my day when I got to the track- just seeing everybody having a good time.
Misty: We are from central California- right near Laguna Seca Raceway and wondered if you had ever had a chance to race there?
Tony: I have never even been there. But any time, especially when the Indy cars ran and the GT cars use to run, we use to watch the races there a lot. It would be a track that I would LOVE to have an opportunity to do something at. It’s on the bucket list of tracks that I want to run at.
Misty: What would a win at Las Vegas mean to you?
Tony: It would be huge because this a place we haven’t won at yet. So we definitely want to win a race here. It doesn’t put more pressure on us to do it but we won at California last year at the cup race there- and we hadn’t won at California so that knocked that off the list. So now we are down to Vegas and Darlington. It would be nice to get that checked off the list and get that done. Those two tracks are the only two we haven’t won at on the whole circuit. I think we have potential to do something that no one else has done and that’s be able to say we have won at every track.
(I have to note that it was incredibly disappointing when transcribing this last part of the interview because Tony sounded so excited about the possibility of winning at LVMS. It was hard to transcribe especially after watching him race at Las Vegas with such a strong car and NOT win)
We thanked Tony and left Tony to begin to take on the throngs of people standing outside waiting for their autograph. Misty and I stood by the show car area outside with Valli for awhile just chatting about the race weekend ahead of us when we spotted this little boy who had just gotten his car autographed by Tony. He was so excited that he ran out to the show car handlers to show them. It was absolutely adorable: