Martinsville: Above and Beyond Part 2

Meeting Drivers in the Garage
Fair warning! (if you don’t know NASCAR drivers, you may not enjoy reading all this).

Meeting Jeff Gordon was our greatest desire for this weekend. We could not get over how he was THE very first driver we saw that morning! We almost felt like saying…”It can’t get better than this….we can go home now”. But we didn’t know that the week would continue to be one amazing moment after another. Korie was estatic and could barely speak after meeting Jeff. I am so glad Steve recorded it because her reaction was priceless.

We then saw some of the drivers were coming out for their 9 am morning practice. They were speaking with their crews and looking at their cars. There is a story about each one. I will pick a few that were more interesting. But all the drivers were so kind.

IMG_5931aWe saw Kasey Kahne. I walked up and asked him if he had time to meet Korie. He said “sure” and came right over to her. He was very comfortable and put his hand on the back of her chair and said a few words to her. He was very nice. Now, Korie loves Jeff, but she also is quite fond of Kasey. One of her fish is named after him!

Steve saw Carl Edwards talking to some people at his hauler so we headed over there. As soon as Korie saw him, she started shaking a hand at him and called his name! He was more than willing to meet Korie. He got down right in front of her chair and starting asking her questions like “where are you from”, “why are you wearing a Jeff Gordon shirt?” lol, etc.IMG_5944a He was super nice. If you read about him, you will find out more about his generous heart.

IMG_5948a The drivers were just walking among all the people and sometimes you wouldn’t even notice them until after they had passed by. But we couldn’t miss the next one that we saw.Tony Stewart was walking with someone signing a poster. When he saw Korie, he actually pushed through the poster to walk over to Korie even before we could ask him for a picture! He gingerly got down beside her (he broke his leg last year) and asked her where she was from and talked to her for awhile. To be honest, Tony didn’t look very good. Of course, he has been through a lot this year after the accident on the dirt track. But physically, he had a little trouble getting up. I felt sorry for him but I was very impressed with how nice he was to us and the time he took with us. I wish him the best.

Three drivers that I enjoyed meeting were Landon Cassell,Justin Allgaier and David Ragan.IMG_5947a IMG_5949a .IMG_6004 I had been reading a book out loud to Steve and Korie called FAITH IN THE FASTLANE. It is about how faith is so entrenched in NASCAR and how it began and what kind of things have gone on through the years. We had read about all three of these young men and their strong testimonies. It was a joy to tell each of them that we had read about them and appreciated their public stand.

We also met briefly and got pictures with Clint BowyerIMG_6001 IMG_6014aand Ryan Newman. Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick walked right by us. We were getting kind of tired and not sure how many more drivers we could see when we saw young Austin Dillon, in his cowboy hat, and he was very happy to talk with us. It thrilled us!IMG_6016a

We talked to three reporters/announcers. All three were so wonderful and kind. We met Marty Smith, Matt Yocum and Brad Daugherty. All three asked which driver she liked and who she thought would win the championship. Such kind men.IMG_6002

Kyle Larson is a young driver. He is in contention for Rookie of the Year, along with Austin Dillon. IMG_6111Kyle has had a really great year and I know that he will be a great driver in the future with a lot of success. It was fun seeing him and how much he had changed since we saw him in Richmond two years ago.

One last one that I will mention here is Joey Logano. Joey is young and I know he has done some foolish things on the track and he probably wasn’t one that I was really looking for. But we came upon him while he was giving an interview. We stopped to listen as he talked to the someone we couldn’t see (or hear). When he was done, he signed a few autographs and actually looked like he was going back into the trailer when we asked him for a picture. He was very kind and said yes and came out for a picture with Korie. I appreciated the time he took for us. He even took off his sunglasses for a better picture! IMG_6043

Meeting these drivers was like Christmas to a little girl (Korie) who watches NASCAR each weekend. Each encounter was so wonderful….there was only one that wasn’t. I don’t even think I need to tell you who it was. If you know NASCAR, you probably have a good guess. But most NASCAR drivers are wonderful people. What a privilege to meet each one!

Part 3 to follow.

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