It's Wednesday morning, day three of the of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway and fatigue is setting.
Why? Because it's 6:30 a.m. and as mentioned in an earlier blog, TV guys don't do 6:30 am, and if they do, they just don't do it very well. At least not this one. But, after a late night editing packages that will air later in the week, it's up-and-at-em time and it's off to Furniture Row Racing.
The buses depart the hotel at 7:45 and by 8 we are at Charlotte's Furniture Row. For those interested in all things wood, this would be your Utopia, your paradise, and your best dream all wrapped into one. There's furniture store after store in this area, and it's in one of them we have the press conference. That was a first. A press conference in front of me, with a bed to my left, and several stylish oak cabinets to my right. A different kind of setting, but in this case, quite cool.
Furniture Row Racing features one car, the #78, driven by Regan Smith.
This visit also featured three give-a-ways. Two $1,000 gift cards and a furniture set. Unfortunately for this reporter's wife, my name was not drawn out of the hat. However, what did draw some attention, is when Adrian with Charlotte Motor Speedway announces a re-draw for one of the gifts. When one of the name's announced earlier didn't ring a bell in his head, he looked up that name. Turns out, it was one of the bus drivers. Apparently the bus drivers were not allowed to win the game, hence the re-draw. Only in NASCAR.
It's just after 10 am, time to leave all the wood and head to the Richard Petty Motorsports visit, which is taking place at the speedway.
The King (that's Richard Petty for the non-race fans reading this piece) says RPM has its best chance of success in "5 or 6 years." I certainly hope that's true. Just how cool would things be for NASCAR if the #43 was to find victory lane again? Very cool. Petty raced the 43 to 200 wins. Since then, the 43 has just three wins, and none since 1999. AJ Allmendinger will try to change that this season.
At 11:30, it's back on the bus and we head to a different part of the track for the Ford Racing lunch. Ford officials talk about Ford's dedication to racing, and it's love of the sport. This year's group of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees are also talked about.
Buses depart at 1:30 for Hendrick Motorsports. Talk about a massive facility. Huge. But then again, this is the team that fields Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. and Mark Martin. That's definitely a heavy weight lineup.
Johnson is constantly asked about how he stays hungry to keep winning, while Junior receives several questions about the upcoming Daytona 500--which marks the 10 year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's tragic crash.
I mentioned earlier about the 43 car finding victory lane. That would be big. But how big would it be if Junior could be the guy to de-throne Johnson? Bigger than the Hendrick Motorsports compound, and that's saying something.
Like it always does, time flies, you rush to get what you need, then its back on the bus. Another writing time (editing time) period arrives at the hotel. I log some interviews, and edit what I can.
When 6 pm approaches, it's back on the bus and off to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Really an incredible facility if you haven't made the trip. The hall had over 200,000 since it first opened less than a year ago.
As expected NASCAR big boss Brian France announced a change to the points format. A story that I had already done the previous day, so without the need to run around and get interviews, WATE's Mark Nagi and myself walked around the hall for a few minutes to look at the exhibits. With stock cars from all eras all over the place, we both agree that Bill Elliott's old #9 Coors Light car will always be the best. As a kid, I remember building a model of that car.
And that about wraps up day 3. After the hall, it's back to the hotel. Work a little, sleep a little, and then wake up for day 4.
For me, that starts tomorrow at Roush-Fenway Racing. See you then.