Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My First ARCA Race

I can honestly say that I had never been to an ARCA race before Sunday.  This Sunday, May 22, my parents and I travelled two hours to Millville, New Jersey (you’ve probably never heard of it) to go to New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) for the ARCA ModSpace 150.  This was only the third time the ARCA teams headed out to New Jersey to  Thunderbolt Raceway (one of two road courses at NJMP), a 2.25 mile road course, for the 67 lap race.   When the second ARCA race was held here in 2009, Patrick Long put down a track record qualifying lap of 99.602mph!

Me and Joe Heller
Now, about my day.  As some of you know, I had the privilege of having Media Credentials thanks to Joe Heller, the Director Marketing and Communications.  I was able to go into the Media Center, see what goes on in there and talk to Joe.  I got to meet Public Relations Representatives for some of the drivers, the ARCA Series Communications Director, Griffin Hickman, and I was also allowed to take Press Releases and the Event Media Guide.  I also walked around the Garage, being able to see all of the cars before the race and the haulers.

Standing on the car
After this, I walked around for a while, before going to the ARCA autograph session, which was cool.   Due to the laid-back atmosphere at the track, all of the drivers stood by their cars on Pit Road and you just had to walk up to them and get a hero card or picture with them!  When the autograph session was over, we walked around some more, and then it was time for driver intros, then the race.  For those who have met me, you know I’m on the short side.  While standing behind the pit stalls, I was having trouble taking pictures, so my dad came up with the genius idea for me to stand on the back of the car and open the window so I could get better pictures.
Race winner, Andrew Ranger and me
When the race was over, Andrew Ranger won his first ARCA race, and I was able to be there when he got out of his car to celebrate and do his interview.  After that, we strolled around the garage a little bit more, looking at the cars – some still completely intact, others…not so much, and the drivers who were getting out of the cars.  Then walked back to our car (not before picking up a piece of confetti from Victory Lane) and headed home. 

Ken Schrader and me
My first ARCA race was definitely one I will never forget, especially because I had the privilege of meeting the Honorary Starter and NASCAR legend, Kenny Schrader! 

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