I flew into Kansas City, Missouri on Friday in the middle of the day. I knew that I was going to miss out on all of the top-12 driver press conferences, as well as Clint Bowyer’s big, non-surprise announcement that he was going to Michael Waltrip Racing next year in the #15 5-Hour Energy car. I knew all of that going in and it wasn’t a problem seeing as how the fact that I was going to the race weekend at Kansas Speedway at all was a big deal.
With my bag claimed, I caught the rental car shuttle to pick up my car at Hertz. As I walked through the Hertz lot getting closer and closer to my car parked in slot number 327, I noticed a small yellow car next to a small silver car. I was far enough away that I couldn’t tell which one was in my stall number and I silently prayed that it was the silver one but it wasn’t. I got the BRIGHT (and I do mean bright) yellow Chevrolet Aveo, a 5-door compact car. That was the ONLY yellow car in that entire parking lot and they had to give it to me.
The photo really doesn’t do the color justice, it’s brighter in person. Later on and throughout the weekend I would drive into the track and see cute guys looking at me and think they were checking me out, but no, they were checking out the BRIGHT yellow car.
My first order of business was to check-in to my hotel and then I rushed off to the track (not before making a futile attempt at locating a Starbucks on my way). Since my hotel was in (Kansas City) Missouri and the track is in (Kansas City) Kansas, I got to visit two states for the price of one. They are both equally beautiful, especially with all the fall foliage blooming right now. The hotel was only 25 minutes (if that) from the track and I was pleasantly surprised at how empty the road was. It was like that everyday I was there. I never encountered traffic for the entire trip.
I strongly encourage you to put Kansas Speedway on your list of tracks to visit on the NASCAR schedule. First, you have the great non-traffic issue, and secondly there’s so much to do around it along with the casino they’re opening next year and all of the other stuff they’ve got coming it’s got everything 2 seconds from the track. There’s literally a Best Western Hotel right outside the gates of the infield tunnel. If I had stayed there I could have walked into the track and it would have taken me, like, 5 minutes. There’s an entire shopping center just a stones throw away, which I’m assuming is especially helpful if you’re camping out in and around the track.
When I got to the speedway I walked into the Cup garage and immediately into a bunch of cars going through inspection. Then on into the media center where the Michael Waltrip Racing/Clint Bowyer presser must have just finished because Michael Waltrip and MWR’s Executive Vice President of Business Development, Ty Norris, were still in the lobby area talking with people. I overheard Michael say that he wants to be the best team owner he can be.
I got to go to Kansas because of Hunt Brothers® Pizza. They sponsor Kevin Harvick Inc. cars in the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series and have been in NASCAR for about 4 years now. They invited me out and setup the interview I got to do with DeLana Harvick, Kevin Harvick’s wife & co-owner of KHI, on Saturday. I met with their racing representatives out at their Nationwide Series hauler for the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy that was being driven by Kevin on Saturday.
Nationwide practice was still going on, but it was great to finally meet them in person. We sorted things out for Saturday and then I headed back to the media center to say catch up with Lisa, a friend who does PR for Office Depot. We walked out to pit road for the start of the Sprint Cup Series qualifying session.
It was there that I got the Obligatory Ron Malec Photo of the Weekend.
We watched as Austin Dillon walked down pit road to make his first-ever Sprint Cup Series qualifying run. I’m not sure if it was how he carries himself or the big headphones he was wearing (or both) but he looked a lot like a boxer about to enter the ring. He looked so focused like he was intent on “knocking out” his qualifying run. I guess it worked ’cause he made it into the field for the race on Sunday.
Eventually I headed back into the garage area to the media bullpen area where the top-3 cars are held throughout qualifying. If you watched ESPN’s coverage you might have seen me standing behind Denny Hamlin as he was interviewed. That was totally not on purpose at all. I thought the camera might of been focused off to my right but I was wrong ’cause a bunch of people confirmed to me on Twitter that I was in view. So if you did see me, what did you think of my top? I love it. Got it on sale at Nordstrom. Hehe.
I didn’t stay for the ARCA race even though I wanted to because I was so tired and hungry. So I went off in search of food and tried Taco Bueno for the first time. It was some pretty good tex-mex fast food that fit the bill for the evening. Then I went to Best Buy to buy a 3.5mm auxiliary audio cable for my rental car so that I could listen to my iPod through the car’s speakers. Yes, it was that serious for me to get to listen to MY music.