An annual summer tradition of mine is to use all of my vacation time in July. Another annual tradition is to go to the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. I’m a drag racing fan, and I love to attend the Route 66 Nationals every year. It’s fun to go from Chicago to Joliet and watch drag racing. One of the NHRA’s main selling points is that “every ticket is a pit pass.” In NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula 1, pit passes are two things: extra and expensive. In the NHRA, everyone can see the cars up close, and meet the drivers.
When racing comes to town, drivers will do a number of signings in the area. Normally, my schedule doesn’t allow me to do these, but this year I had the opportunity to do a John Force and Robert Hight signing at an Advance Auto Parts in Chicago. The team brought a show car, gave out Monster samples,and I got to meet 16 time Funny Car champion John Force and Robert Hight, and got two signed hero cards. On Saturday, my long time buddy Matt and I went to Route 66. There were quite a few classic race cars there,
and the racing was spectacular. Matt had never been to a racing event before, so I had to show him the ropes. I did get him some autographs. I was very into getting autographs this year, because I had made a book of my racing selfies, and I tried to get every driver I met. I wound up getting a lot of them including Hector Arana, Jack Beckman, Antron Brown, John Force, Robert Hight, Clay Millican and Leah Pritcett. I also got Gary “Mr Norms” Dyer, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Connie Kaletta, and Arnie “The Farmer” Bestwick.I bought a championship cap from a crew member of Erica Enders-Stevens when she won the 2014 Pro Stock championship. I was fortunate enough to get her to autograph it…but more on that last week. I also brought a Riley’s Kids pit crew shirt, and got it siged by Andrew Hines, Clay Millican, Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, John Force, and Ed Krawiec. While I was getting the Leah Pritchett autograph, John Schnatter, better known as Papa John, founder of Papa John Pizza started signing autographs, and I got one, and a selfie with him! I also got a selife with Matt Hagan on Saturday.Drag racing artist Kenny Youngblood was giving out custom prints, so I got one of the legendary Chi-Town Hustler. I also have an older Cruz Pedregon print from a few years ago.I also got an Infinite Hero challenge coin, this one has some significance behind it, since Terry Chandler, who funds Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. passed away from brain cancer on the 4th. I’ve never discussed this on The Driver Suit Blog, but I’m not a fan of slanted logos on the sides of Funny Cars, but when it comes to Cruz Pedregon’s Snap On Funny Car that was raced at Route 66, I can’t help but be impressed. The logo is angled so that when the body is raised, the logo is perfectly visible. It does look cool.As for the racing action, it was great like always! Then again, a terrible day at a drag racing event beats a great day anywhere else! I had a great meal to boot! Saturday was a lot of fun!Sunday came, and I returned to Route 66, this time with Vananrd, another long time friend of mine. The racing was great, and the pit area was fun too. I did get to meet Coutrney Force, and get a selfie, as well as Jack Beckman and Jim Campbell. I had a great time watching the racing with great friends, and that’s what being a racing fan is all about.
Next week, I’ll examine the Erica Enders-Stevens caps a bit more closely.