Thursday night was the Sports Illustrated party at Pure nightclub inside of Caesars Palace. Let me do a little foreshadowing of how this evening turned out. I walked to Pure from my hotel which is right next door to Caesars, but when I returned I took a cab.
Yea, it was that kind of night. When I arrived at the party I picked up my first of what would be at least 5 Cosmopolitans. I hung out and chatted with the people I knew, various PR people for sponsors and racetracks. It was after my second drink that I spotted ESPNs Marty Smith.
Now, if you’re starting to think that I’m a lush, you would be wrong. I don’t drink that often. There is no alcohol in my apartment, save for a couple bottles of wine that I’ve had for years, one of which I only have because it was given to me and it was free. I only drink in social situations, and if it’s free even better. And like I said before, I am shy, so what would take me like 20 minutes of talking up to do sober, took only 5 seconds with a little vodka in my bloodstream. And really, really, when am I going to get an opportunity like this to talk to people just as people and not when they’re technically “working.”
So I go over to Marty and tell him that I just wanted to say “Hello” and introduce myself. He was so nice and we talked about Sonoma County, which is where I live. He was very cool and I told him that I would love to interview him sometime, which is totally true; I think it’d be cool. He has a lot of fans of his own.
A little bit later on I spotted Dale Jarrett in the VIP section hanging with Michael Waltrip. I really wanted to say “Hello” to Dale because I’d done a telephone interview with him last year. I have to say that he looked really cool, if you didn’t know him, or how old he really is, you would of probably thought he was in his 30s. Dale Jarrett knows how to dress. I eventually got to say “Hi” and shake his hand at one point, but it was so loud that I have no idea what he said or what I said after that.
The big story of the night though was when I spotted Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson’s Championship crew chief, with his girlfriend Lisa Rockelmann. I made a beeline for him and just started talking. I don’t remember any decision being made in my brain but all of sudden I was there shaking his hand, telling him who I was and congratulating him on his 4th straight Championship.
I have to tell you that Chad was so awesome and nice. I told him about my site and how I’d awarded his car chief, Ron Malec, with my hottest car chief award, to which Chad said “He has a girlfriend.” Which puzzled me because I was, like, “I don’t care, he’s still hot.” For the record, you can acknolwedge a person’s hotness and not want to jump their bones. It is possible. Besides it’s just fun to write about.
Anyway… Chad said he doesn’t read blogs or Twitter or Facebook and all that. He’s a very private guy. I reassured him that I didn’t want to write about salacious gossip. I was really trying to get that across but again, I’d had many drinks at that point so I’m not sure if it was articulated perfectly. I told him that he had his own fans and he seemed kinda surprised. I have no idea how the conversation ended but it was good and I don’t think I annoyed him. Again, he was a really nice guy and seemed very chill and relaxed, which is kind of what I expected.
Now, I know it might sound like I had no idea what I was doing but I promise you I didn’t make a fool of myself. It’s Vegas and how can you not step outside of your box when you’re in Vegas? And now you know why I woke up the morning of the awards ceremony feeling craptastic.