Sunday, September 26, 2010

One more NASCAR post!

On Saturday, the whole family went to the race. The girls (and Chuck) had fun showing me around to all the fun stuff they did they day before.
Nana came up for the weekend, so she got to experience the NASCAR craziness too. I think we may have worn her out with all our quick walking from place to place. Chuck calls it "California style." (For any of you that are a Gates, or have traveled with a Gates, you know how the "gotta see it all" time line works.) Nana is used to "Southern style," where you take your time to stroll through life. She was a trooper and the girls loved having her there. (Until it was time for her to take them home - while Chuck and I stayed for the race - when there were lots of tears.)
Top left: Chevy tent announcer pretending to interview me for our photo. His microphone was on and the entire tent area could hear us chatting.
Bottom right: Dancing for free t-shirts.
The highlight of the entire weekend was when Jimmie Johnson was scheduled to appear at the Chevy tent for an interview. On Saturday, the girls kept telling Chuck that they wanted to see Jimmie. When he said, "We saw him racing," they said they wanted to see him and talk to him.

So, we planned our day to be at the Chevy tent early enough to get a spot to see Jimmie. We waited by the gates where the drivers came in and out, but we were about three deep back from the crowded gates. Both girls had on their Lowe's Build and Grow aprons ready to show Jimmie all their patches and hoping to have him sign.

Chuck was chatting with some of his fellow racin' fans, and the extremely nice people suggested our girls work their way up front. They even hollered at the people up front to let Leland and Lucy up there. Chuck became buddies with a guy who is in the Air Force, who said, "I love Jimmie, but if he doesn't stop for your daughters, I may have to choose a new favorite driver."

While we waited, Lucy ended up on my shoulders in the back of the crowd while, Leland was right up front with a group of really nice race fans. When Jimmie came out, a guy lifted Leland up and over the railing, while all those around her yelled for Jimmie to sign her apron. Jimmie walked up, saw her apron and started signing! She was so excited, and her daddy tried to contain his excitement as he fired away at taking pictures.

Then, the guy put Leland down so she could come show her Daddy, and he yelled back to me, "Give me your other daughter!" Before I could respond, the guy next to me grabbed Lucy off of my shoulders and passed her to the guy in front. (It was really amazing how calm the girls were with all of these strangers, but I guess they could feel the excitement as they were blown away that they actually got to meet Jimmie.) By this time, Jimmie had gone down the line a bit signing autographs. Then the crowd started yelling "Go back to sign the little girls apron!" Jimmie replied "I already did." A few in the crowd said "No, this one is her sister, go back!" So, he came back to sign Lucy's apron too.

It was awesome. The girls were absolutely thrilled! Their sweet Daddy cried. (You read that right - Chuck cried. After Jimmie left, he was sitting on the ground packing up his backpack and Leland came up and give him a huge hug, and tears started running down his face.) He said it was because he could see just how excited the girls were. (It's happened before when his sweet dream for his little girls come true.)

The crowd around us were so sweet, helpful, and excited for them. (Chuck also calls this "Southern style.") When his Air Force buddy said, "We should've gotten you up there to take a picture with him and sign your hat," Chuck told him that all he wanted was for his girls to meet Jimmie, so he was excited to be taking pictures for them to remember. He's such a great Daddy for little girls.

Seriously, do you now see why he is such a die hard fan of Lowe's?
Jimmie Johnson signing Leland (pink hat) and Lucy's (pony tail) Build and Grow aprons
We felt our day was complete at that point, yet we still had so much more to do. We headed to get our green screen family photo with Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus (pit crew chief) and then walked Nana and the girls back to the car to say good bye.
Holding up 4 fingers with the 4 consecutive Sprint Cup trophies, Jimmie, and Chad.
The race was awesome. We ended up sitting in the Family Section which was no smoking and no alcohol. It made a huge difference in the atmosphere around us and made the race much more enjoyable. I really enjoyed it way more than I ever thought I would enjoy a NASCAR race.

I love the patriotism I felt when all the fans waved an American flag while "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" were sung. I love that a prayer is said before every race. I loved the rumble of cars as they sped around the track. I was so glad that I was able to fulfill this dream for my husband. I think it made me the most happy just watching him enjoy every moment.


  1. That is so sweet! Isn't it so wonderful seeing the world through our children's eyes? I'm glad you all had such a great time. :)

  2. Very cool! What a great memorable experience for you all!

  3. That looks like so much fun! Sad we didn't do it while we lived there.