I arrived at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race to find a bajillion freaking people in the infield. Okay, maybe not a bajillion but it was a whole hell of a lot of people. Walking through the garage, okay, only one side of it (The Dale Earnhardt Jr. side, of course) was packed with fans and people that were clearly only on hand because some companies were doing some serious entertaining. Women in heels so high it was obvious they’d never been to a race before and men pointing to cars to tell those women who the drivers were but got the names wrong. Men, if you don’t know who someone is just say that you don’t know. It’s okay. The garage was filled with all kinds of people and it was seriously hard to walk like two feet.
The whole day felt weird for me because 1) I hadn’t been to a race since last year’s Pepsi 500 in So. Cal. and 2) my first day ever at Charlotte Motor Speedway was also race day and I’d never done that before. Usually things ramp up, ya know, qualifying then practice then racing. I had missed stuff. But whatever, it was still great to be there.
Before the first official event of the night began I had the great opportunity to meet the three young people featured in the new documentary “Racing Dreams.” It was surreal to meet them because I’d just seen the movie last week and now here we were sitting outside of AJ Allmendinger’s motorcoach, while AJ’s wife, Lynne (who was supernice, by the way), scuttled around preparing dinner for them and their families and friends, and they had aged 4 years since the filming of the documentary.
The trio had spent a whirlwind week attending the official premiere of the “Racing Dreams” at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Tuesday plus Allmendinger’s charity events, Best Buy events and running around Charlotte Motor Speedway where they met inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Junior Johnson. Each of them received scholarships $5,000 scholarships from Best Buy and participated in a media training session.
I think the media session must have gone really well because Josh, Annabeth and Brandon were a pleasure to talk to and chat with about what life has been like since the film. Each one still has hopes of one day becoming a NASCAR racecar driver. They’re extremely cool kids and I sincerely wish them the best. Tell all your friends to go see “Racing Dreams.” Just do it.
(left to right) Josh, Annabeth and Brandon are featured in the film “Racing Dreams”
My vantage point for the Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge wasn’t very advantageous so I couldn’t see all that much but it was pretty clear by the cheers from the audience that Joey Logano was the winner.
The All-Star Race was, well, the All-Star Race. It got good the last ten laps and Kurt Busch won. Victory Lane, out on the start/finish line, was pretty fun. I could actually see stuff and got some pretty good pictures of Kurt Busch’s celebration.
I didn’t get back to the hotel until one-something in the morning and had to get up earlier than I would have liked to go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Inaugural Induction Ceremony. But more about that in the next post.
This is the Carl Edwards mob scene, and I didn’t realize it until I looked at this photo just now but I think that’s David Ragan at bottom right of the photo.
Kasey Kahne heads to the All-Star Race driver & crew chief meeting.
Scott Speed on his way to the Sprint Showdown driver introductions.
Sam Hornish Jr. holds his daughter Addison while doing an interview with SPEED’s Wendy Venturini.
Michael Waltrip entertains his daughter and her friend before the Sprint Showdown driver introductions.
The No. 9 Budweiser pit crew stay lined up for the National Anthem before the start of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Kurt Busch celebrates winning the 2010 NASCAR All-Star Race.
(all photos credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)