Freckles & Brad the Fanboy
Freckles & Brad the Fanboy
It’s Bristol Baby! Yep, I’ve just returned from the great states of Tennessee and Virginia. My days were occupied by work at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, and my late evenings at the Courtyard by Marriott in Virginia. As a point of reference, until this past weekend, I didn’t realize there were two Bristol’s just minutes away from each other. I do truly learn something new every single day.
My first night in Bristol (actually Kingsport, TN) was a bit of a wake-up call. Well, I actually did not sleep very well that first night. The day began with a flight from Denver to Atlanta to catch a short flight to Knoxville and then the 2-hour drive to Bristol. However, after pulling back from the gate on the small commuter jet, the pilot said we were going back, as it turns out they actually need both engines to work to fly. With heavy sighs throughout the plane (mine was a sigh of relief!), the passengers waited as the mechanics repaired the right-side engine. 90-minutes later we were in the air.
As I have said before on my blog, being on the road can be a grind. However, I have found little nuggets along the way that bring me great joy and peace of mind. Plus, I’m getting to do a job that I love and meeting some very interesting people along the way. That’s the good. The bad is walking into a “hotel” room that would scare convicts back to their cells, screaming, “Momma!” Being beat-tired, I sucked it up and then went online to find another hotel for the rest of the weekend. However, the sandman would not let me sleep. So, it was up and at it at 3 am and in front of my MacBook to prep for the weekend @BMSupdates. 16-hours later I walked into my room at the Courtyard. I collapsed on the bed knowing I would be sleeping in a room that didn’t have a 30 year-old Zenith tube TV with a fuzzy picture, and a velvet picture of General Lee on the wall.
I love meeting new people. I truly believe that we walk through life with an opportunity to meet people who have been put in that one certain place and time for a reason. And I truly do love NASCAR fans, but those long days and weekends at the tracks can really challenge a person. That said, I live my life with a daily dose of forgiveness, lots of grace, knowing that you’ll catch a lot more bees with honey than vinegar.
It’s all good. Before the Food City 500 on Sunday I had an opportunity to meet a really fun family at the FanVision trailer. What was cool was the father; son and daughter were all wearing different driver ball caps. The little girl was proudly wearing a Jeff Gordon hat and her mom was wearing a #24 t-shirt. Of course, seeing this “divided” NASCAR family, I had to rib them a bit about their selection of drivers. The dad laughed hard and said it gets really interesting around the house when they are watching a race on TV. Their little girl was so precious. On Saturday I had taken a pic of Jeff’s car in the pit being prepped for the weekend races. When I showed her the pic, she lit up with an indescribable smile! The other thing that was so fun is she had brought along her stuffed dog for raceday. So, I asked her, “Is your dog named Jeff or Gordon?” She smiled and said, “Nope, his name is Freckles!” So cool.
On Saturday before the Nationwide race I had my first NASCAR rock star moment. While in Phoenix I had received a text from Brad Keselowski’s spotter saying Brad told him, “I don’t care what you have to do, but get a FanVision to use during practices, qualifying and during the races!” So we accommodated Joey the Spotter. On Friday I received another text from Joey. Seems Brad also wanted to use a FanVision while he waited for his turn on the track for practices and qualifying. So I busted a move towards the infield with a controller in my backpack for Mr. Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite car. Minutes later I was shaking hands with the eventual winner of the Food City 500! I tell everyone that I don’t have a favorite NASCAR driver, however, you might say I was pulling for @keselowski on Sunday.
As Brad took the checkered flag, I sent Joey the Spotter a text saying, “YES!!!” After celebrating with the #2 team on Victory Lane, Joey hit me with a text thanking me for getting Brad the controller on Saturday. I responded with a plug saying that perhaps Brad should shake my hand at each at Sprint Cup race weekend!
My first Sunday at the Bristol Motor Speedway was coming to a close as the thousands of race fans headed to their cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorhomes. As I do each race weekend, I was standing near the FanVision trailer chatting with fans as they head out from the track. Imagine my surprise as my new favorite NASCAR family walked past me with big smiles on their faces after a fun day at the track. In that moment, I thought, “How cool to meet such a nice family.” I then yelled over to Jeff’s #1 Bristol fan. “Great to meet you guys and goodbye, Freckles!” The little girl, stopped, smiled and yelled back to me, “Freckles says goodbye, too!”
I love my job…
Until next time, remember…winners don’t wait for chances…they take them!