My Favorite Piece of Sport Memorabilia
All of my sports memorabilia is NASCAR-related. Perhaps it is a southern thing? The greatest race tracks of NASCAR are in the south: Daytona, Charlotte, Bristol, Talladega. Naturally, the racing teams pass through many parts of the South. Yet despite the popularity of NASCAR, drivers remain accessible to fans. My favorite piece of sports memorabilia is an Action 1/24-scale diecast replica of two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart’s 2003 #20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
How I Got It
I was once fortunate enough to work for Tony’s major sponsor. When he came to visit our headquarters, I bought the high quality model and had it autographed By Tony Stewart and his Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli. Tony Stewart’s visit to the corporate headquarters was an exciting event. One of the traveling exhibition race cars was driven around the front parking area and parked in a position of prominence. The driver’s merchandise trailer opened and did a brisk business selling jackets, hats, and replica cars. I went down and bought the replica car early so that I had it when it was time for autographs. Even though I went down a little early for an autograph, a long line of people ran the length of the building. I was in line for 30 to 45 minutes, but eventually I got to the area were Tony and his crew chief were seated. Tony Stewart signed my car quickly while talking to a company PR person, but Greg Zipadelli took the time to say “Hi” and sign neatly. It was a brief brush with NASCAR greatness and one of the things that made working for a major NASCAR sponsor pretty cool.
Other NASCAR Memorabilia
Since that brief encounter, I’ve had the opportunity to work for other NASCAR sponsors and meet other drivers. I even met and scored a hat autographed by Daryl Waltrip himself for answering a trivia question correctly on NASCAR Day at another employer. I also got a T-shirt autographed by an up and coming driver. I call the hat my boogity, boogity, boogity, hat, but I never wear it because I don’t want to mess up Old D.W.’s autograph.
Ironically, I never been to an actual NASCAR stock car race. The closest I’ve come has been a Craftsman Series Truck Race in St. Louis many years ago and a dirt track race near Atlanta. At one race, I learned the value of ear plugs and at another I learned not to eat nachos while sitting in a turn grandstand at a dirt track. Both experiences were valuable life lessons and a lot of fun. When the American economy turns around, NASCAR can be assured that I’ll definitely be in the stands for at least one race. Until then, my Action diecast replica of that famous bright orange car will remain a very tangible reminder of a memorable encounter with a major motor sports figure.