Our friends Nurse Nancy, Fly Boy and Junior Bird Man were on vacation with us. Junior Bird Man used to go to school with the son of a NASCAR executive. When we went to Florida three years ago, Mr. NASCAR provided the guys with tickets to the Daytona 500. They really liked it. And this year, Mr. NASCAR gave us all, including my brother and his wife who joined us on the trip, the NASCAR experience of a life time.
We checked in on Wednesday morning before heading to Kennedy Space Center. We received "Hot" passes which allowed us access to the garages and the pits. Of course, not being a NASCAR fan, I had no idea what to expect.
Thursday morning, early, we headed to Daytona and our experience began. We walked into the pits and I knew that this was going to be fun. With access to the garages, we saw all the cars being worked on and my brother, who is an avid autograph collector, showed us how to chase autographs. It was like learning at the foot of the master. He came armed with photos and other memorabilia to have signed by the drivers and other car guys. We attended the driver's pre-race meeting and got to watch the Dual 120 race - one race in the stand and one in the pits. It was awesome.
On Friday, we returned and all the guys took a pace car ride around the track. We collected more autographs and left the track exhausted and ready to go home the next day.
Here are some highlights of our trip to Daytona:
Photo op with Rutledge Wood from the American version of "Top Gear." He was by far, the sweetest celeb ever.
Glancing down the row of garages.
NASCAR legend Richard Petty perched high upon his team's trailer.
We followed tradition and signed our names on the start/finish line. Our "John Hancock's" are at the top of the block.