petty tribute: who was missing?

NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers pay tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years in NASCAR at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)The difference between the crowd gathered for the Nationwide Series drivers meeting and the one assembled for the Sprint Cup Series was like night and day. Friday it was me standing with the security guards but on Saturday I had to contend with a big crowd, a fence and those damn TV crews.

I made sure I was there early, like half an hour before it was all supposed to begin. Matt Kenseth arrived first with a Sirius satellite radio DJ in tow. Matt was very punctual on Saturday, he was also first at driver intros. So as per usual I tried to take as many photos as possible. My attempts at getting shots of guys and their shoes were foiled by guys from TNT filming people right in front of me.

In the drivers meeting they go over what’s going to happen before, during and after the race and what the rules are, or if there’s going to be a competition caution, etc. There’s a lot of stating the obvious, but it’s something you have to do. I couldn’t help but wonder though what it would be like if someone raised their hand at the end and said “So, what do I do if I win the race? Where do I go?” That’d be fun.

Kurt Busch walked into the drivers meeting with none other than pop singer Gavin DeGraw. I didn’t know who was singing the anthem until I saw him arrive. I have lukewarm feelings about Mr. DeGraw. I want to like him, he has a nice voice, but his music always leaves me wanting something more. Anywho, I ended up seeing him a lot after that. I almost bumped into him coming out of the bathroom in the media center; he was pacing around warming up his vocal cords.

After the drivers meeting came driver intros. I trekked out onto the grass and proceeded to get my socks and shoes totally soaked by the soggy field. I decided to stake out the opposite side of the stage that no one was on because it was the best angle to get great photos. Of course security had to come over and rain on my parade and told me I had to go to either the front of the stage or the other side. They had to keep that area clear. Dagnabit!

Okay, so let’s talk about that tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years of NASCAR racing. It’s amazing it’s been that long. I thought it was such a great idea to have all the drivers wear, what has become his signature accessory, the cowboy hat. However, it was clear that he should be the only person wearing those suckers. The King is the only person who looks good in them as far as I’m concerned.

Check out the photo below. Who’s missing from it? In spite of what they were saying at the time all 43 drivers weren’t there to take this photo. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all showed up later just in time for the actual driver introductions. Oh and someone else is missing from the photo too but I can’t remember who it is. Any guesses?


The 43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The 43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Richard Petty (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

He’s always got a smile on his face!

Richard Petty stands behind the stage before his tribute begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Robby Gordon and Richard Childress (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous

Robby Gordon walks with Richard Childress to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

2 Comments

  1. July 15, 2008 at 7:28 PM ·

    I believe Clint Bowyer was the other driver missing from the hat picture. I wish there were better close ups of some of the drivers.

  2. July 16, 2008 at 4:58 AM ·

    I don’t care for Gavin DeGraw, I mean his songs are good but he always looks thrown away. He’s ugly to me.

    Yeah, I was trying to figure out who was missing from the photo, thanks for clearing that up.

    And it still sounds like you had an AWESOME time.

    PS….are you making plans to attend the Coke 600 next May?