I am a sucker for a raffle.
My husband claims I am not. He says it is because I like participating in charitable work.
While this may be true, given I have volunteered with a couple of charities and also given the fact that 99.9% of the raffle tickets I purchase benefit a charity, I am still a sucker for a raffle. Buy a ticket and have a chance to win something?! Yes, please! Even if it isn’t something for which I yearn.
The other day I saw this on my FaceBook feed.
I have no desire to own a bright yellow Corvette, but oh my gosh! Only 10,888 tickets?!
I hoped I wasn’t too late and hastily clicked on the link. There were only four thousand and some tickets remaining. I wiped the sweat off of my brow.
And you betcha I clicked through and bought a ticket.
You better get yours soon! You can buy one here. And, the money goes to a good cause: The Dale Jr. Foundation, which is “dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education.”
A worthy excuse to drop $25 on a raffle ticket. Even if you don’t desire to own the prize.
If, by some random stroke of luck, I do win the car – there is a good chance I would sell it. Or, maybe I would raffle it and feed the raffle appetite of others. 😉
Last summer, I bought a raffle ticket for this car. (This alone should prove, once and for all, that I am a sucker for a raffle). And of course, the proceeds benefited a charitable foundation, The Eric Trump Foundation.
I tried to convince my husband that if we won – he could use it to drive to the airport when he travels for business. He refused to consider the proposition. We never had an argument about the matter because, oddly, they were unable to sell the number of tickets necessary. So, the raffle was cancelled.
Truth be known – I would have sold Herbie too. Surely there is an enthusiast out there somewhere.
I may seem to be a Corvette-hater. A Herbie-hater. And, you may even think I have no appreciation for the great Dale Earnhardt, Jr. given I would sell his car. Please trust that none of these assumptions are true.
I drive a minivan. I have three children. I am not going to drive around in a bright yellow Corvette. Herbie had more of a chance because at least I could probably fit three booster seats in the back.
Anyway, all of this ‘buying a ticket to win Dale, Jr.’s car business’ caused me to reflect on a time almost seventeen years ago: I was shopping at a Staples and a man came speeding by muttering stealthily that Dale, Jr. was in the store.
That guy was buying a camera to take a picture with him.
It was before smart phones of course. Dinosaurs were also roaming around.
It was late November and Dale, Jr. was just trying to shop for some Christmas presents for his family.
I would like to say I gave him a ‘whas-up, peace’ nod and moved on, but if I did I would be lying to you.
Instead, I casually waited by my car outside, so that I could ask him for his autograph. Please know that I do not fill my spare time sending stalker letters to design show stars and loitering in parking lots stalking famous racecar drivers. These are not my past times! I have a life. I have friends. Remember, I went out with some friends a few weeks ago!
The real reason I hung out for an excessive amount of time to get his autograph is that I have an older brother with special needs and he loves NASCAR. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville (Bill Elliott) was his racer until Bill retired. Then, he followed Kasey Kahne. I am sorry Dale, Jr., that you never had his official loyal following, but he is still a fan.
So, there I sat (read stalked) Dale, Jr. in the parking lot. He walked out with a buddy and I (like some awkward giddy school girl) asked for his autograph. I even think my hands were shaking, but I liken that to my stupidity or maybe hypoglycemia.
Friends. When you ask someone for an autograph please be prepared with a pen and paper. I speak from experience. I had no pen. I had no paper. One would think, that as I stood by my car waiting for him to come outside, I would have thought that through.
Picture instead a young woman standing awkwardly by her car, waiting (stalking) empty-handed.
So, I commenced to awkwardly bend over into the my burgundy Mazda 626, nicknamed Merlot, for the next three to five minutes searching in every nook and cranny for a pen and paper.
Dale, Jr. and his buddy stood there. Waiting.
I finally found a receipt and a pen somewhere in the depths of the tan interior. (Smiling sweat drop emoji)
I emerged, having to leverage my full core, because that was the depth of my search and handed a receipt and a pen over proudly to a very polite and patient Dale, Jr. His friend continued to patiently stand there.
The. Pen. Did. Not. Work.
Eventually, we were successful in calling forth the ink, after I maimed my arm with the pen tip trying to get it to write. Dale, Jr. signed the paper and then departed with a newfound fear of red-headed women for all of eternity.
Here are some pictures from the event. They host an incredible night with amazing food and drinks. It is an excellent way to give money to another fantastic charity.
I blame it on a friend, who shall remain nameless. She really, really wanted to get her picture with Dale, Jr. and she was on a mission. I am all for helping my friends achieve their goals. Even if it involves lingering awkwardly by the entry to the VIP seating under the watchful eye of the security guard.
So, there we loitered, waiting for (read stalking) Dale, Jr. He eventually came out (trying to leave the event) and my friend got her picture taken with him. And of course, once again, I couldn’t just smile and nod and say something smooth like, “Have a great night!” or “Great race last weekend.” or “That’s a nice shirt.” or “Congrats on your engagement.”
I had to have my picture taken too.
Darn free drinks.
But not until after I recounted the Staples story with him over the din of the event and loquaciously thanked him again for being so nice and polite to me in the Mooresville, NC Staples parking lot 17 years ago.
I’m sure he remembered. Ahem.
Ya’ll. He is so polite and listened to me quite intently. And then, he waited even longer while my friend snapped a few photos of me with him. This was the best of the three.
Some helpful advice: when you ask a celebrity for a photo, flip the camera on your phone around to yourself first and make sure you look celebrity-photo worthy. Ugh.
That poor man.
Do you all think he has contacted Chip and Joanna to coordinate a restraining order? 😉
Now, for a fitting lesson.
The History of NASCAR
The history of stock car racing in the United States is rooted deeply in bootlegging during Prohibition. Drivers of cars, modified for speed and handling, raced through the countryside with cars full of bootleg whiskey. The bootleggers needed to distribute their alcohol and used the drivers to help deliver their products.
The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 resulted in less of a need for the fast drivers, but because the clientele had developed a taste for moonshine, some drivers continued delivering moonshine to evade those wanting to tax the moonshine operations.
But the drivers had already grown to love the fast-pace driving and by the late 1940’s races were being run. They were popular entertainment in rural United States especially in the Wilkes County area of North Carolina.
Junior Johnson, is probably one of the most well-known drivers for the bootleggers and went on to become a NASCAR legend.
Stock car racing in the United States actually began in Daytona, Florida in the early 1900s. European racers started to take notice when eight consecutive world records were set between 1927 and 1935.
In 1935, William (Bill) France, Sr., a mechanic, moved to Daytona from Washington D.C. to escape the Great Depression. He entered the 1936 event and finished fifth. In one year he took over running the course.
France envisioned that people would enjoy watching stock cars race and in 1947 he began discussions with influential racers to form a sanctioned organization with standardized rules that would put an end to unscrupulous promoters who would leave events before paying the drivers. In 1948 NASCAR was formed.
NASCAR is now run by Brian France, Bill France’s grandson.
So, thanks to Bill France, I have awkward autograph moments with race car drivers and unique raffle opportunities.
The NASCAR season is well underway, so journey on to a race and tell Dale, Jr. I said hello. It will be your last chance to see him race. He is retiring after this year!
XO, Melissa a.k.a the Mama Brain