The NASCAR Experience - Part 2

We lined up in Victory Lane ready for all the drivers to be introduced. I made conversation with a few people in the area and was very vocal about how excited I was to meet my favorite driver, Car #11 Denny Hamlin. Let me explain, 11 is my “lucky number”. It is my birthday, it was my number in sports growing up, my sorority family tree number is 11 – so when my contestant number at Miss International was called as 11, I felt a-ok! So naturally, I like the #11 car. It also helps that it is purple and black, one of my favorite color combos. I mean, Denny is handsome and all, but it’s his number and car colors that sealed the deal!

So one by one the drivers walked about 2 feet from me. I clapped, cheered, waved, and even shook hands with some of the other notable drivers that I admire – Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon. The eventual winner of the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and I had an awkward exchange. It was one of those I outstretched my hand to shake his, and he fist-bumped me…. But alas, I touched the winner you guys!

Pocono is a great track for Denny. He has won 4 times and was in the coveted “pole position” which means he was the fastest qualifier. So I collected myself and prepared for him to walk toward me. We shook hands, no big deal! The “after photo” below is hysterical. I am positively glowing – a feeling of achievement!

After the drivers were all announced, Channing and Jonah followed suit. Naturally all the ladies were vying for Channing’s attention. And well, I value humor over all else so I looked to meet Jonah Hill. Kevin, who was my paparazzi for the day, laughed after my exchange with him because we greeted each other as if we had known each other for years. Me: “Heyyyyy!”, Jonah Hill: (Surprised to see me face) “Oh Heyyyy!”. We should hands and he pointed at me as we walked away… yeah, old friends.

The start of the race was unlike anything I had experienced before. The cars took off with a pace car leading them and the minute they crossed the starting line after coming back around, they zoomed off. And in that moment, “Zoom” was onomatopoeia. I could not believe the speed and force of the cars. My pace car went 100 mph around the turns…. These drivers were pushing these cars to do approx. 170 and at times over 200 mph on the straightaways! The sound was also incredible. We all had to have earplugs it was so overwhelming. Even through the earplugs you can hear the power of the cars!

It was a true experience for the books. Thank you SO much to Janet for arranging this special day for me. I have such a new and redeemed appreciation for NASCAR, the drivers, the crews, and the families of all involved. It may have been my first race, but it most certainly won’t be my last!

With the POCONO 400 “trophy” 

Shaking Denny’s Hand

My “YESSSS” moment, post hand shake LOL

For the ladies – Channing Tatum

My BFF Jonah Hill

The pre-race flyover – The appreciation for our military was so apparent all day!


Seek Happiness,



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