Editor's Note: I lost internet at work for about 32 hours, so that is why this report is a day late. I will still try to get 5 in for the week.January Recap Part 3:
NASCAR – just saying it conjures up some rather colorful images of the sport and its fans. To be honest I was never really a big fan of the “sport.” However, as I mentioned yesterday, we held our conference in Daytona, Florida – home of the Daytona 500. So, our theme for the weekend was “Race to Success.”
One of the events and awards we had was an opportunity to get behind the wheel of an actual stock car at The Richard Petty Driving Experience. After loading the bus at 6 a.m. left for the track and after one of the worst bus drivers I have ever had the joy of riding with, we got ready to drive our own stock cars. At this point I was along to interview drivers after they finished racing. (We needed the video clips for conference the next day.) So, I was looking over some of the scripts and considering whom I would talk to, when one of the owners of our company came up to me and asked if I would like to drive as well. (You see, we had paid for an extra spot but someone didn’t show up, so they asked me if I wanted to go.) So after absolutely NO time spent thinking I immediately replied that I would LOVE to drive the car around the track at over 120 mph. The experience was a total blast. First we rode along with a professional driver at approximately 145 mph, and then we got behind the wheel to drive only 3 car lengths behind a professional driver. In retrospect riding along was actually more intense than driving, but I did get the fastest time the highest top speed of any of the drivers (122.66 mph). It was quite an experience… one I won’t soon forget.
Once that was over I took the group back to the hotel and got ready for the rest of the day’s activities. We had basically rented out the entire Daytona Speedway for the afternoon and evening. We started with a tour of the NEXTEL tower (where all the press sits right over the finish line, and followed that with a tram tour around the infield. After all this we loaded 6 busses and were shuttled down onto pit row where we had a party in the Rolex center and on Victory Lane for about 400 VIP’s. It was at this point we had our special guest speaker appear – Mr. Carl Edward (driver of the #99 Office Depot car.) After a meet and greet with the same race winners from the morning, Carl got up and took questions for about 30 mins., till we were ready to head out for the evening.
To finish off the evening we rented out the attraction Daytona USA. This little theme park was totally based on the entire racing profession. I really learned quite a bit and enjoyed some of the fun games and displays. We basically keep the party going till midnight.
At about 11:15 I got a call from the hotel and my night wasn’t done yet. I was told we needed a couple of items for the next day as we would be releasing some new products and didn’t have the right props. I sent the last group of people back to the hotel at 11:45 and jumped on the last bus for one final job for the day. (At this point you might be asking yourself, “He jumped on a bus?”) Yes, I had a personal coach bus chauffer to take me to Wal-Mart. I felt like a rockstar on tour as I jumped off the bus and went inside to find a baby stroller and some cigars.
Once inside I found the baby strollers for $60-$120. I must have looked out of place, cause a worker came up to me and asked if I needed help. I turn to her and said, “ I need the cheapest stroller you got.” After a moment of laughter she help me dig a $12 Winnie the Pooh stroller out from its hidden place 3 inches off the ground. As I stood in line to buy cigars and check out my phone rang. I had just been asked to buy some race helmets as well. So I got out of line and asked my friend on the phone where I was gonna find race helmets. She suggested I get some snowmobile helmets and we would call it good. So I started looking, when a thought hit me… “How am I gonna find Snowmobile helmets in Florida?” This was a longer story than I intended, so to cut it short. I got back on the bus with all of my prizes and headed back to the hotel with the morning sun on the horizon and the promise of more joyful work to be done.
In conclusion, I have a newfound respect and admiration for the entire sport of NASCAR. I am excited to start following this sport and routing on my favorite driver.(Heading lyrics – Yesterday by the Beatles)