Meeting stock car racing drivers is easier than one might think. In fact, it's one of my top five reasons that NASCAR is my favorite sport. Here's our brief encounter with one of the giants in the sport: Kyle Busch.
|The M&M car|
I have to admit. I can't stand Kyle Busch. Even though I am somewhat a Nascar Newb, I realized very quickly that fans either love or hate the #18 driver. In every sport there must be a villain, and in Nascar it's Kyle Busch. Unfortunately, my son was attracted to the M&M car, and while I want him to love the sport, I realized that this meant that he'd likely become a fan of Kyle Busch. (I just shuddered remembering that realization.)
Yes, the inevitable happened. He's a full fledged M&M, Kyle Busch fan. Of course, after meeting Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse, and even Trevor Bayne, all I could hear from my son was, "When are we going to get to meet Kyle Busch?" I always thought "yuk" then responded, "Yes son, whenever he's available." Not thinking, of course, that there was any chance of running into him.
|Kyle Busch in his Breast Cancer|
Ironically, I was completely wrong. While standing in line to meet Trevor Bayne (discussed here) we got into an interesting discussion with the older man who was a veteran fan of the sport. He stated that he and his brother had met hundreds of drivers over the years and had almost 1,000 signatures from the sport. Of course, as a Nascar Newb, I had to pick his brain and ask him tips. One of his main tips was to always have a large 1:64 diecast car in your backpack. I didn't realize this, but they manufacture generic cars with the year listed on the side and no sponsor or driver mentioned on the car. So, whenever he simply "runs into" a driver somewhere he has a car with him to ask them to sign. While this sounds random, the next day when my son and I visited pit road I had a chance to have both Mark Martin and Jeff Burton sign something, but I had nothing on me to ask them to sign! These generic cars can be purchased from vendor booths for under $25.
After receiving this tip, my son smiled and asked, "Have any tips to meet Kyle Busch?" I smiled and without missing a beat the man said, "Well, he's got a Q&A session right after this at the Toyota booth, if you can get over there quick enough, maybe you can get a signature!" My son got very excited, but I had to calm his excitement a little because drivers don't always do autographs after these sessions. So, after we met Trevor, we jetted over to the Toyota booth and it was packed. I tried to get up to the railing where everyone was gathered and I simply couldn't get to the front. After 15 minutes, Kyle came out and unveiled a Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt that was a part of a contest, took a few questions, then started signing autographs.
|My son and his Kyle Busch stand up|
I knew we were in trouble. Kyle started halfway through the line and was moving in the other direction. We moved a few times and tried to get close to the railing, but there were just too many people. We went to the end of the line where Kyle was headed and stood behind some folks. My son occasionally cried out "Mr. Busch!" with his M&M hat on, but Kyle didn't look up, he just kept signing away.
|M&M Pit crew with my son|
Suddenly, a lady in front of us said, "Do you want me to try?" and motioned for the 12" stand-up that my son was holding and he quickly handed it to her. She was right on the railing and had nothing to get signed, she just wanted a picture. Sure enough, Kyle walked up, signed my sons item and took a picture with the lady. The lady smiled and handed it back to my son. I profusely thanked her and celebrated his new souvenir.
Coming up in a future Blog: pit passes- are they family friendly and worth the additional cost?
If you liked what you've read, and you want to know more about our family experiences and tips for Nascar Newbs - follow this feed or my twitter account @DeanHardy23