Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the day of the Nationwide Series race, the TECH-NET Auto Service 300 powered by CARQUEST. It was also the day that I forgot to put my sunscreen on and got a nice little tan.
The two days that hold the Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Nationwide Series races are always my favorite days during any race weekend. It’s because there’s always, like, 50% less people running around the garage. I know it’s silly but I love feeling like I have the garage all to myself. And practice is always the best time to get pictures of the cars as they exit and enter the track.
On this particular day I witnessed something that has been going on forever but I only discovered it last weekend. I’m not sure what the process is but some cars come off the track and before going to their garage stall to make adjustments they stop at some designated area near or in the garage and the guys from Goodyear check out their tires. There’s also a crew member from their team checking stuff and taking notes.
The supercute part about the whole thing, and I’m sure I’m the only person who thinks this is “supercute,” is when the person from Goodyear hands the driver the little white piece of paper with info about his tires on it, and the driver takes it with him back to his team. You had to be there, it struck me as funny/interesting that they’re taking this “note” back to their team. I dunno, I thought it was cool. My curiosity knows know bounds. I’m like Harriet the Spy, I want to know everything!
Anyway, having learned of this practice I made it my business to be near those Goodyear dudes so that I could get good car shots. It was perfect. During the first Sprint Cup practice there was a traffic jam and there were a bunch of cars inches from me. Loved it.
Eventually I got tired of standing and went back to the Media Center for lunch. There I had an awesome conversation with Rob Albright, one of the turn announcers from PRN. It felt like we talked about everything, from my blog to up & coming racers to who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame next. It was a good time. So glad I met him.
Then during our conversation I noticed something starting to happen. These Sprint Cup drivers started walking by our table trying to make their way to the Nationwide Series drivers meeting. There I was having this cool convo trying to act natural when Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano walk by. Half of my brain was wondering if it made sense to try and grab my camera to take a picture and the other half was all, “Hey, Carl Edwards is RIGHT behind me right now.” So funny, and the answer was no, it didn’t make sense to grab my camera.
On my way to driver introductions it was my full intention to introduce myself to the three Nationwide Series drivers I’d interviewed in April. The only one I was able to make it happen with was Michael Annett. He was very nice and I was very nervous so I didn’t make any attempt at, like, having a conversation. He probably thinks I’m weird. But I don’t know what to say. I’m shy! I just wanted to say hello, really.
The race happened, blah, blah, blah. When I got “home” to my room, I relaxed for a minute before heading out and down to the Speed Street shenanigans that were taking place just a block from my hotel. Speed Street takes over a bunch of blocks in Uptown Charlotte, it’s free to get in and there’s all this stuff to eat, drink and check out including artists and bands. Plus a lot of drivers had Q&A and autograph sessions throughout the three-day event. I only went down there because I wanted to see Pat Benatar because I love her. I lasted through 2 songs and then I had to get the heck out of there. There were a million people squished in an intersection, with another million people pushing past us trying to get wherever. Interesting stuff and Pat still sounds amazing.
Brian Vickers and Casey Mears compared notes during practice.
Cars lined up to get checked out by Goodyear reps during Sprint Cup practice.
I’m assuming Brad Keselowski is explaining to Mike Massaro how he hurt his jaw on Thursday.
Michael Annett leaves the stage after being introduced for the TECH-NET Auto Service 300 powered by CARQUEST.
Jeremy Clements had the greatest sponsor ever: Boudreaux’s Butt Paste!