Monday, February 21, 2011

NASCAR Racing: Our First Experience...COOL!

My wife and I just returned from Daytona, Florida and the running of the Daytona 500. And, I must say, of all the major sporting events I've been blessed to cover and attend over the years, this ranks right at the the top.

As a disclaimer, please know I don't get anything about cars except for the fact that they get you from point A to point B in rush hour traffic and cost $3.55 per gallon to fill these days. But, Daytona is a whole different experience. And, the EXPERIENCE part is what makes it special.

We were guests and treated as royalty by Talia Mark, Mark Lewis, Todd Ervin and the rest of the great folks at NASCAR. We got a pace car ride before the Nationwide race, which my hot rod wife loved. Quote: "If I could have kicked the driver out and driven myself, I would have done it". :) We had total access to the garage area, and were treated to a great show by all the drivers and crews BEFORE the race even started.

The thing which impressed me most was the access ALL the fans had to such thrills in one way or another. Superbowl fans don't exactly get to hang out on the field during pre game ceremonies, you know? NASCAR is a totally fan friendly atmosphere, even if you (like me) don't know at times exactly what you were looking at out there.

But, we learned quickly, and gained an appreciation for the sport you can only get by going and hanging out with 140-thousand of your closest friends.

Ticket prices were reasonable. Everyone had their favorite driver for which to root. The whole week is geared to let the fans have a great time. And, the drivers' attitude toward their fans was refreshingly open and encouraged by the teams.

We loved it! And, the other thing I appreciated was the diversity effort the sport has undertaken in an attempt to introduce other cultures in America to the sport. The affore mentioned folks are doing an outstanding job. I wish them luck, and pledge my help through Fred Hickman Communications and our associates in the future.

I never thought I'd ever enjoy watching guys turn left for 500 miles. I was mistaken! I'm already planning for next year.

One hint: Budget a little extra for the hotels...they know you're coming. :)