Have you ever had a time when you were going somewhere interesting and you had no idea “what” or “if” anything was going to happen when you get there.
The first Friday of our trip was one such day.
Let me go back a little to Winter 2004 where we were in the early stages of planning our trip and as we were heading with friends to the Dover NASCAR race in June 05 we thought it might be fun to spend the race weekend in the pits courtesy of a race team!
If only life was as simple as that.
Pit passes are like “rocking horse s—” and so i decided to write to my favourite NASCAR team “RCR” and enquire as to if it would be possible to have “hot” pit passes for that race weekend. “Hot” passes are the best you can get as they guarantee you pit access for the entire time your at the track, getting you right in amongst the “real” action and as a rule you can only get these passes via the teams, NASCAR or the track owner.
To be honest i never even knew if i’d get an answer to my email but it was worth a try and so i wrote to the Director of Marketing to ask along the lines of “Hey, you don’t know me at all but how about you giving me not one, not two… but 5 (yes 5) of those very limited hot pit passes that you get allocated for each race.”
Within about 24 hours an email came back from RCR Director of Marketing who i seem to remember was called Gary Hart saying along the lines of “We always get requests for pit passes from fans blah blah, we always turn them down blah blah, we’re really too busy as we’re a very important NASCAR team blah blah…… but”
And he continued…..
“Your situation is unique as your from England and are following the NASCAR tour for a month taking in races and coming to the RCR raceshops. Let me get back to you”
And so i waited for a month or so and as i hadn’t heard anything i thought i’d get back in touch with Gary again to see what the latest was and he replied “Would you be ok if NASCAR wanted to interview you on TV? I’ll be in touch”
And that was pretty much it. I emailed him a couple more times over the next two months as we got closer to May 2005 and the start of the holiday where i’d usually just get a quick email back saying along the lines of “Everythings fine”. But with a couple of days to go before the trip started, i emailed Gary one last time to see if there was an update… and there was no reply… So theres Judith and me meeting two friends Rich and Kat who had also traveled about 3 hours to be at RCR on a dull Friday morning in Welcome NC not having a clue “what” or “if” anything was going to happen that day.
We walked into the RCR museum, went up to the cash desk where i happened to mention to the lady sat there that “We’re from England” whilst wondering if those 3 little words might trigger some activity in our direction, but it didn’t seem to register with her so we handed over our $10 each to have a look round the car exhibits. Just as we turned to head into the museum thinking “that was it” a lady ran over and said “Are you Mark?”
To which i replied “Why yes!”
Looks of excitement appeared quickly on our faces as we turned round to see whose footsteps were heading towards us. It was none other than Danny “Chocolate” Myers one of the most well known and respected RCR team members of all time.
From being the gasman for Dale Earnhardt Senior for many years and an integral part of the RCR organisation, for the last few years Danny has been the curator of the RCR Museum and the only people he does a personal tour for are sponsors and VIP’s. So guess what?? He was there to give us a personal tour!
As he handed us VIP passes and shook all our hands welcoming us to the facility, he promised us a great day and that he was honoured to be able to show us round the museum.
It was pretty cool to have people that were looking round the various car exhibits coming up to Chocolate and us asking for his autograph whilst we were being shown round. They didn’t need to know who we were but must just of thought that we were “somebody” for us to be with Chocolate and to have the VIP passes with us.
Heres some photos from inside the museum