New Hampshire is a place I hold dear to me for a unique reason. This was the place that I got my first opportunity to be a media member in the NASCAR community. Obviously, as a then-rookie back in 2009, I just laid low, did my job, introduce myself, and not make too big of an impression. With it being the first race in the then-Chase, it was important to be as professional as possible, and let the pros do their thing, and learn.
That is until media members got a chance to launch tees into the crowd. Sounded like fun, so I asked what we were riding in.
Luck would have it, Toyota brought out their newly refreshed, rebuilt, and extremely beautiful Tundra monster ride truck. My first thought is, “Well how about that. Now I’m in my element.” Two other media members came out and said they would assist with the tee toss. Apparently, they weren’t aware of what they were riding in, or were more stunned at the mere size.
How did they get into the back, where the tee cannon was located? The easy way, the ladder which allows people to hop in with no issues. Me, being the one familiar with these kinda vehicles, was like, “Can I ride in the cab?” The ones giving the ride were stunned since they didn’t expect anyone to ask to be in the cab area for the ride, but since the tee cannon plus the bag were in the bed and you add in three adults, things were a bit tight. I told them I knew how to get in without the ladder, and proved it by climbing on the foot step, onto the tire, and up into the cab.
That certainly made an impression after the lap around the track on 66-inch Goodyear tires, because when we pulled back into the garage area, I waited for those in the bed to get out, and I just simply opened the door, hopped down, and even told the driver, “Don’t be afraid to give it gas, they’re strapped in tight back there.”
The other media members wondered how I wasn’t scared of the truck, and by explaining to them how much I knew about it, and the safety put into such trucks, it gained a lot of respect.
So this place has a special meaning to me, and each year when the “Magic Mile” hosts it’s annual events, that memory comes up and it just makes me smile. Add in the fact that on that day, a man who practically everyone in the garage area respected, liked, and raced as clean as they could in Mark Martin, came home victorious for his fourth win of the year, and first in a playoff event, just made it worth while.
Although the only thing I probably could do without on that weekend was the lack of seafood to eat at the track. It’s New Hampshire, not that far from Maine…where was the lobster ya could eat instead of just only the big one for victory lane?
Oh well, guess we’ll never know.