The Frontstretch: The Life of NASCAR At Lowe's : Day Three by Thomas Bowles -- Saturday May 27, 2006

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The Life of NASCAR At Lowe's : Day Three

Thomas Bowles · Saturday May 27, 2006


After a relaxing Friday, Saturday is all about the racing as it’s time to venture back to the Speedway for everything Busch and Nextel Cup. Here were my thoughts on the day:

11:30 A.M. Leave the hotel after an hour of trying and failing to get my laptop to work with the hotel’s internet connection. Anybody ever see the Office Space scene with the two guys and the copier? That’s what’s going to happen to this computer on Monday morning.

12:00 P.M. Leaving seven and a half hours before the Busch race, I’m SURE there’s no way I’ll get stuck in traffic yet again…

12:50 P.M. Phew! That was quick…all I needed was some illegal U turns and passing of over 200 cars, otherwise I’d get here around 2:30.

1:00 P.M. Walk into the media center to find a giant lifesize stand of Carl Edwards, so much so I’m surprised it didn’t get up and start walking towards me. A little weird…

2:30 P.M. The Waltrips come outside the media center and reveal the Busch car Darell will race at Martinsville, cracking several jokes and hugs in the process. I note this because, as annoying as Michael Waltrip’s commercialism can be sometimes, I found courage in his ability to be upbeat despite the horrific weekend he’d had. For Michael, the whole press conference turned into him having to answer countless questions about his own team’s future instead of the exciting announcement surrounding Darrell being in his car.

3:20 P.M. Waiting patiently for Harvick to show up for his driver availability interview…yet, he fails to show. Not good for my story…

3:21 P.M. I’m a moron. Hard for Harvick to show up when the interview is behind his hauler, not in the media center. These are the rookie mistakes people make when first starting out.

3:38 P.M. Got the “frown” face from the fans for the first time after finishing up an interview with Mark Martin. Martin needed time to prep for Nextel Cup practice, so he bolted into his hauler immediately after my interview with him, causing fans to look at me like I just cost them a picture or an autograph. Oh well…you can’t expect drivers to be available 24/7!

5:10 P.M. Starting the long walk from the infield to the TV truck for a tour. To give you an idea of how far that is from the media center, think about walking halfway around the Charlotte track. Yep, 3/4 of a mile…gotta get the exercise in.

5:30 P.M. I’ve now moved from the craziness of the garage area to the relative calm of the television trucks, with a private behind the scenes tour of FOX television in order. Or should I say trucks…several of them line up outside the entrance to the speedway, so many, in fact, that they call it the “TV Compound.” It’s like a little community back there.

5:40 P.M. Note to self : need to find some way to put a robo cam in my yearly budget.

5:50 P.M. The thing about TV, having worked in it for several years, is it’s so much more technical than people ever realize. Put yourself in the director’s shoes and try and pick between 20 cameras for your next shot, with 43 different drivers to choose from. Not easy.

7:45 P.M. Just a few minutes before start your engines, Kenny Wallace finds himself walking down pit road and still stopping to sign autographs for avid fans with garage passes. It’s impressive the patience some drivers show even when fans bother them at inappropriate times. I mean, if you approached Barry Bonds just before an at bat, you’d get a punch in the face, and this is pretty much the same thing.

9:45 P.M. To give you an idea of the difference between covering the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup series, when would-be winner Matt Kenseth went out with a blown engine I was one of about four people around to try and grab some sound from him. Four. Two thirds of people originally in the media center have left.

11:00 P.M. The race may be over, but the mad rush to Victory Lane begins. When someone as popular as Carl Edwards takes the checkered flag, pretty much every person in the garage not associated at the race team is sitting in Victory Lane to watch the madness happen. It’s like a mosh pit at a concert…just imagine what it’ll be like if he wins the Cup race tomorrow.

That’s it from here…tune in tomorrow for the fourth and final addition of the daily blog.

Miss Day One of the blog? View it here
Miss Day Two of the blog? View it here

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