I woke up at 5am to make the trip to Charlotte solo. Terry had to stay behind to manage our business, but would join me Thursday night. I certainly prefer having my co-pilot with me. The GPS planned a great route that took at least 45 minutes off the normal highway path we have used in the past to Charlotte. The roads were great! Just a few small towns with fewer traffic lights. Often 4 lanes, many of which were new.
Arrived around 10am for set-up and media day. Drove down a tunnel under the racetrack and into the inner field. It could not have been smoother. We were the last car into the ‘Nationwide’ garage, which is one of two long buildings with roll up garage doors lining both sides. About 40 ‘bays’ in total. The garage is normally completely empty, except on racing days, when it is filled with racecars, drivers, mechanics, their teams, parts and rolling tool bins, all of which disappear after the race is over. A 6 foot wide yellow line runs down the center floor of the building from one end to the other, designating the neutral zone, to be kept clear. For a garage, I noticed the floor was very clean, painted blue, with the exception of that yellow line.
Today, the garage was in a different ‘mode’. All the garage doors were blacked out with plastic and black pole curtains finished off the disguise. Colorful convention taffeta hung overhead to further transform the garage atmosphere into a show room. Most of the featured cars were in place, having arrived the day before. Theatrical lights were being hung to illuminate the specialty vehicles in a classy way. Two ‘bubble’ cars caught my eye first, on display from the Reno Auto Museum. They were Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth originals. He was known for his ‘Rat Fink’ character in the 60’s as well as a prominent custom car builder, many of which were reproduced by toy model companies.
My favorite car of the show happened to be right beside me, however, I would not discover this until it was dis-covered the next day. . .