A few of you (Okay, my brother and maybe my cousins) may know that my dad was a amateur race car driver – formula Vee. He also had a huge trophy in his garage for a midget car engine he built. (Dirt track). I have fond memories of going to the races. Dad took me to dirt track, but not to races he drove in, only my older brother got to do that. But I dated race car drivers when I was older (18) and have interesting memories of those races as well.
My Mom loved going to races, even after she and my dad split. I don’t know what the draw was for Mom. Something she loved from part of her life I guess, along with sailing.
I’m writing a racetrack scene in the current novel, and when I got the chance to attend a breakfast with a couple of drivers on Friday, I jumped at the chance. Then I found out my friends were going to the races on Sunday, so I tagged along for that too. (They really should build roofs over the grand stands. It was hotter than Hades out there. Good thing I had my floppy hat.)
The thing that struck me at the breakfast was how willing the drivers were to interact with their fans. Joey Logano, who barely looks old enough to drive, is the ambassador for our local Children’s hospital and he clearly enjoys visiting with the children and hanging out with them. Or if he doesn’t enjoy it, he is great at hiding that he doesn’t and he makes those kids feel really important. That’s a nice quality in a young man. I was very impressed with his easy smile and humble demeanor. If I was his Momma I’d be very proud. (Not that I’m not proud of my own children, I am. But they could do worse than have Joey Logano as a role model.)
The other driver was Jeff Burton, who talked a lot about Children’s hospitals and also about behind the scenes of NASCAR, and what it takes to get a car on the track. I found it very interesting. My take away? It takes loads of money and bunches of people. Which made me think maybe I could get a job with one of the teams. I’d make a great social media coordinator! Here he is with his daughter. A sweet photo
Of course what I really want is a hot pass for the pits. A friend of mine keeps suggesting I write a NASCAR novel, a ‘racy’ NASCAR novel, if I remember correctly. (Pun intended.) But unless I can get some access I don’t think I could do it any justice. I need to be on the top of one of the infield motor homes during a race. I need to be up with the spotters listening in. I need to listen to drivers talking to their crew. I know a little about racing, but my knowledge is old. Certainly the technology has changed so much from the time when my dad was driving I doubt he’d even recognize it, if he was still alive.
So I’m throwing this out there to NASCAR and the drivers, crew chiefs, assistants – you know who you are. If you want a fun novel about your sport with authentic details, I’m sitting here waiting for my hot pass. I’d be grateful, and I’d make you look really good in my book! So what do you say? Want an extra Mom hanging around taking notes about everything? I’m your gal.
By-the-way, I was rooting for Denny Hamlin because that’s who my BFF roots for and she wasn’t there. I was her proxy! He led a lot of the way, but ended up coming in 2nd. And because I’d met Joey and he seemed like such a nice kid, I kept my eye on him too. He came in 16th, I believe. I was sorry he didn’t do better, but I was very happy that he finished without mishap. I’m sure his mother was too.