To answer Melody’s question from my previous post, I was in Tony Stewart’s hauler for all of 5 minutes. It was luxuriously air conditioned and I didn’t see the back lounge area. Plus Tony wasn’t there he was out practicing but it was very cool to be inside a hauler for any reason and any amount of time.
Sunday was of course the Coca-Cola 600 and on my drive in to the track I couldn’t get over the amount of tailgating that was going on seemingly EVERYWHERE. Every blade of grass surrounding the track was filled with trucks, tents and people with barbecues. Even the parking lots of commercial office buildings had groups of people crowded together. It was so neat to see. There’s tailgating at the California races but nothing to the degree of what I saw outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s something that you have to witness for yourself.
I got to the track in time to attend a tweetup organized by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck. I went to meet up with ‘Fabulous’ readers Tara S. and Penni. It was really cool finally getting to meet them in person. I seriously adore the women that read my blog, you guys are the bestest! This is the perfect time to thank you all for the sweet comments about my interview with Tony Stewart. I really appreciate the encouragement.
As I alluded to in the title of this post, the Coca-Cola 600 was really all about Bradley Cooper and his hotness visiting a NASCAR race for the first time. He was there with three of his other cast-mates to promote their new movie “The A-Team.” I thought Brendan Fraser’s presence at Chicagoland a couple of years ago was a big deal but Bradley really brought out the ladies. Media and PR people alike make it a point to be in the media center for the cast’s press conference. As soon as Bradley walked into the media center people were requesting to have their photo taken with him (as you can see at right, that’s not me, unfortunately), which he happily obliged.
That guy is JUST as hot in person as he is on TV. I can’t say any of those usual oh he’s not as this or that in person. He’s exactly the same, everything you’d want him to be. Gah, I should really stop because you don’t want me to start going on and on about his eyes. OK, OK, his eyes are super freaking dreamy. There was even this one guy who just said, to no one in particular, “Okay, he IS really good looking!”
I tried to take photos but they didn’t come out that great. Once the race started I went down to Ryan Newman’s pit box where “The A-Team” was going to watch the festivities. I watched them as they watched the Sprint Cup drivers take the green flag and noticed Bradley mouth the words “This is awesome!” Which, as far as I’m concerned, means that Auto Club Speedway should invite Bradley out for their next race ‘cause I’ll be at that race and it seemed like he was having a good enough time that he might be willing to come out to another one. hehehe.
Okay, so let’s talk about driver introductions and how much I adore my hard card. I love, love, love my hard card. I was able to stand behind the stage in the same area that the drivers and their “people” stand before they’re called on stage. It was extra helpful because it was hot and the sun was beating down on everyone, there was an area behind the stage that was totally shaded and I made that my spot. While I was standing there Michael Waltrip arrived and I just stood there like a stooge and said nothing. Then to my astonishment Ingrid Vandebosch appeared with another woman who I’m assuming was a nanny, but I could be totally wrong and if I am I apologize. She was standing literally, like, right NEXT to me and I said NOTHING. I was thinking of a ton of stuff to ask her like “Hi, have you picked a name yet?” “When are you due?” Not like I don’t already know when she’s due, but ya know just something about her pregnancy and whatever. But no, I totally chickened out because I’m just like that. Had she stuck around long enough I probably would have said something, it takes me too much time to work up the nerve, but she left as soon as Jeff Gordon was announced.
Even still I was so grateful to have the opportunity to clam up like that.
After the driver intros I hung out with the Office Depot PR people at the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy’s spot on pit road. I inadvertently met Tony Stewart’s girlfriend, but it wasn’t an official introduction it was more of one of those “oh my gosh it’s so hot” mutual agreement type things. Anyway, she seems nice enough. I don’t know anything else, but she’s got a hard card so it must be serious. Whatever gets us to ‘lil smokies running around, all the better right?
So pit road was insanely crowded which made me excited for Infineon in a couple weeks because I know there won’t be as many people around for it. Not that I don’t want people to attend, of course I do, but ya know Charlotte races just bring out a buttload of people because it’s equivalent to a “home game” for NASCAR folks.
During the race when the incident happened with Jimmie Johnson and he had to go to the garage I went out there too. It was amazing to watch the Lowe’s crew go to work on that car. They’re so fast and efficient. It’s very cool and it’s fun to witness Chad Knaus cool as a cucumber through it all. It also reminded me that I hadn’t taken my Obligatory Ron Malec photo, but I couldn’t ‘cause my battery died.
So the race was the race, Kurt Busch won. Nothing that remarkable happened post-race. The next day I went home to the Bay Area and proceeded to have dinner at 3pm in the afternoon and then went straight to bed. I didn’t wake up until the next day.
An up-close look at the one trophy I’d actually want in my home. It was pretty cool.
The Coca-Cola Family Drivers had to wait on the side of the stage until after driver intros to take a group photo. (left to right) Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte (back to the camera), Michael Waltrip, and David Ragan.
Marcos Ambrose was sorting out who was going to take his two daughters once they exited the stage and he took his parade lap.
Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy, holding his son Gavin who happens to be ADORE-UH-BUL!
Tony Stewart gets ready for the Coca-Cola 600
This was my view of the track from the top of the steps inside Victory Lane towards the end of the race. Good view.