Freightliner Team Run Smart recently ran a contest on Facebook for a VIP Race Weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway… We won the contest which included travel expenses, hotel stay and some awesome extras!!! We arrived on Thursday afternoon and checked into the Courtyard by Marriott. This is a very nice hotel.
On Friday, Freightliner arranged for us to visit the Childress Vineyard/Winery in Lexington, NC. We got to walk the vineyards, tour the winery and had a great wine tasting. Richard Childress has built a world class winery. The wine was excellent and the store was great. We ended up buying a case of different wines along with a bunch of accessories and gifts.
Lunch was at the Vineyard's Bistro. We had the TRIFECTA: Butter-Poached Shrimp with Bacon Remoulade and Chives paired with their Reserve Chardonnay. Lobster BLT with Heirloom Tomatoes, House-Cured Bacon, Spinach, Lemon Aioli, Old Bay Potato Chips paired with their Pinot Gris and desert was an Orange Crème Brulee paired with their Late Harvest Viognier. OMG this lunch was beyond EXCELLENT.
After lunch we headed up to the Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup Shop for a private tour of the shop. We got to see the design and fabrication shops, paint shops, engine and assembly areas and all the cars that have recently raced or are ready to race. Richard Childress has really put together a team of expert designers/technicians and they are impressive. After the tour we went over to the museum and got to see the history of Richard Childress Racing and buy some great souvenirs. What a fantastic Friday and we have not even gone to the track yet.
On Saturday we headed over to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and checked in with Nascar to get our passes. These Nascar Hot Passes allowed us VIP Parking, access into the infield, the garages and the pits. After entering the infield (first time for us) we found the Freightliner Team Run Smart Hospitality Hauler. The hauler is a 53’ Kentucky Styled trailer with full AC, covered deck, air conditioned sitting area, bar, snacks, big screen TV’s everywhere and a rooftop observation deck. I was in heaven before the Nationwide race even started. We were met by Stacy and Riley from Freightliner who took care of us all weekend long and made it a weekend we will never forget.
Before the race started we got to meet a new Nationwide Series Driver, Dakota Armstrong. At 21, this young man has an incredible resume of wins. I think this young man will have a fantastic career in racing. We got to explore infield, the pits and the garage areas up close. We got to see Danika Patrick’s Pit Crew changing an engine on her Cup Car and see all the haulers up close. After that we returned to the Freightliner Hauler to watch the race. It was fantastic! Between the Sprint Fan Vision headsets, the big screen TV’s and the observation deck we could not have had better seats at any price. Dakota Armstrong was doing impressive (running 8th) until he was wrecked out. As most of you know, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Race. Since Joe Gibbs Racing is part of Team Freightliner we were invited into the Winners Circle after the race to participate in the celebration. I got to meet Coach Joe Gibbs and get a picture with him along with Kyle Busch and a group picture with him as well. What a fantastic day!
On Sunday, we headed back to the track for the Coca-Cola 600. Again we were back in the infield to see all the festivities up close and personal. Stacy and Riley arranged for two of my favorite drivers to come to the hauler to meet us and do a Q&A session. First we got to meet Jeff Burton from Richard Childress Racing. What a great guy!!!! Jeff was very friendly, answered our all our questions, posed for pictures and even hung out with us for a bit to catch the end of the Indy 500 on TV. Next was Mark Martin from Michael Waltrip Racing. I’ve liked and respected both of these drivers for years. Mark was great and spent time us answering all our questions.
We watched the race from the hauler, from the observation deck, from pit row during pit stops and when the broken camera wire red flagged the race (Sorry Kyle). As most of you know, Kevin Harvick won the race. Richard Childress Racing is part of Team Freightliner and we were again able to go into the Winners Circle for the post-race festivities. We got to meet Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick as well as get picture taken with the trophy!
WOW... What can I say?... This was an experience that money cannot buy! You have to be sponsored by a Race Team to get the level of access we had. What a fantastic weekend!! I cannot thank Freightliner Team Run Smart™ enough for an incredible experience!!!!! Hope you all enjoy the pictures. (Look for more on Team Run Smart's facebook page.)
Keith and June Kroeker, BCO’s with Landstar