If you follow motor sports at all you may be aware this week is speed week in Charlotte, North Carolina. Because NC is the hub, so to speak for Nascar racing the city puts on a great show. Many of the festivities are broadcast on the speed channel. The pit crew challenge, the burn out contest, The all star race for a million and the Sprint cup race to close out the week. I can't imagine how fun all the activities are all week long. It is fun for the divers because most of them have homes in NC so they do not have to travel to get to the race track. Most of the race shops are with in 20 miles of Lowe's Motor Speedway so it is a great break for the entire team. The hauler drivers get to stay home, the pit crew families get to see their loved one work. Nascar is a 6 billion dollar industry in Charlotte, and as most of you know I want to be a part of that industry. I know I love the sport more then my husband, but my son definitely has a feel for the sport. He has watched the sport since he was about 4mths old. Most children like to watch Baby Einstein videos, my son would watch the races. Usually watching the cars go round and round would put the little fella to sleep.
Now with a collection of approximately 80 Nascar hot wheels cars and always is on the look - out for one we don't have. The B man is quite knowledgeable about his race teams. He has a lot of favorites, but none of them come close to his all time favorite of Jeff Gorden. He has liked JG since he was old enough to talk. He has participated in 3 Halloweens (trick or treating) Each and every year, his choice to be JG(Lucky for me save $ reusing the same costume)(also lucky I purchased it large and he hasn't grown much). So as it was no surprise when he told us for his fourth birthday he wanted Jeff Gordon to come to his party. Being The B mans b - day is in January, and we live two hours away from Dayton International Speedway we knew Jeff would be in the state for speed week leading up to the Daytona 500. But the chances he was coming over to attend my four year olds party was slim.
Working with children on a daily basis, and having a small child I firmly believe they are quite connected to the Universe. The baby's in my room _3mths& 6mths talk to each other all the time. So when the B man said he was going to meet Jeff Gordon on his birthday we didn't really consider it, but probably should have. On a whim I went to the speedway website the day before B mans actual B-day and found out the next day Jeff would be doing an autograph session at the speedway. When we heard that, My husband grabbed a duffel bag and our son and headed to Daytona. You had to be in line at the front gate to receive a ticket to enter the autograph signing . The website stated only 100 tickets would be given. The distribution would begin at 9am. We were sceptical at the least. We did not tell the B man why he was going to Daytona. We told him they were testing cars, which was true, but did not want to tell him in case they did not receive a ticket. They arrived about 11pm at the hotel which was across the street from the speedway. They woke up early and got to the gate at 7am and parked in the line that had already formed. My husband was counting cars and peoplefearing they were to late. When they were distributed they were able to obtain one of the magic tickets. About 70Th in line, mission accomplished, and it was only 9:30 am. The autograph session was at 5:00pm. After the line was given tickets they were aloud to go to the in field to watch practice and testing. Festivities would start about 2pm(bands, entertainment)we didn't have much money so I gave Shawn 5$ and a credit card. Once on the field Shawn could not leave, so he was left to use up about 8 hours of time on a kinda of hot day(yes hot in Fl in January). This situation would be fine if the credit card I sent was excepted, but it wasn't which left my husband with 5$, 8hours and a 4 year old. Needless to say he had to conserve, conserve and conserve. He was able to stall for time and supply nutrition for our son all on 5$. Amazing I knew I loved this man. We have some of the best picture ever taken of our son from this day.
Finally the time came and just as my son had predicted on his birthday at 5pm he met his hero, and with out disappointment his hero was kind, soft spoken and wonderful. Our son wanted to give JG the picture we had of him, for him to keep because he loved him so much he did not want anything from Jeff Gordon he just wanted to give him something. Each person was aloud to bring one thing for him to sign and B man brought a picture . After a brief conversation which shall always be private between Jeff and B man (my husband did not hear because he was standing away from him taking pictures)Jeff signed his picture and said Good-bye and with that B man walked away with out the autographed picture. Mr Gordon called him back and asked if he wanted his picture and with a little persuasion B man took his autographed picture with the official authenticity hologram sticker and came home.
B man is 5 and is still loves Jeff Gordon, he often times has to defend his hero to grown adults who find it necessary to tell him Jeff Gordon sucks. I always tell him if your a fan your a fan, no matter what anyone else thinks, besides Jeff has become an amazingly poised, well spoken, kid friendly role model I can't think of another sports figure I would want him to follow.