More from my ongoing e-interview with romance novelist Pamela Britton:
ME: NASCAR is definitely a fan friendly, no doubt about it. Which sort of leads me to my next question, in “In the Groove” you make mention of “helmet lickers,” a nickname for NASCAR groupies. Is this really the case? I don�t know if there�s really a question here but I�m dying to know what “helmet lickers” are like and how they gain access to the drivers, and how the drivers regard them. Do you have any first-hand stories to share about things that you�ve seen in the garage?
PAMELA: “Helmet lickers” — a phrase ( rumor has it) coined by the guys on Dale Jr.’s team. They were tired of the term “pit lizard” and so they came up with a new moniker.
Yes, there are “pit lizards” around. I’ve heard stories of gals that have followed the team haulers to parking lots and, um, made themselves friendly with the big rig driver (not the driver/driver). I’ve seen these women work the garage with my own eyes, traveling from hauler to hauler, hoping to catch someone’s eye — not just a driver, but crew members as well.
Yes, I have an interesting story about this. When we were at a race awhile back, there was a woman sitting on one of the director’s chairs near the back of the #16 hauler. That’s where I hang out and so when I saw her, I just assumed she was with someone — you know — one of the crew members or sponsors or something. But then she trucked on over to someone else’s hauler — another “single” driver. Then, about a half-hour later, she moved to another hauler. I was totally baffled. Normally, most people hang with one team. I wondered if she was a reporter. Or maybe with Goodyear or something. When she trotted back in our direction, I finally asked someone who the heck she was. Nobody knew. Everyone on the team had assumed she was with someone else, LOL. We were all floored because nobody had said anything to her the whole day, and there she was hanging out and being friendly like she was part of the gang. Un. Real. Needless to say, something was said to her then and I never saw her again that weekend.
I hear this is the MO for this type of woman, but I’ve also heard that if a “helmet licker” is spotted and/or ID’d, they’re banished from the garage. This type of behavior is truly frowned upon, especially by certain team owners.