In 1990, Jaime Fair attended his first dirt track race at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Ga. Little did he know, he was coming face to face with his future.
“I didn’t know what a racecar was,” Fair joked. “I heard who Richard Petty was, but I was never interested in racing. After my first race, I was hooked. Since then, I live in some sort of fashion through the racing industry by driving a truck.”
Fair, 43, of Concord, N.C., drives the Freightliner hospitality trailer on the NASCAR® circuit for JHE Productions, an award-winning event production company founded in 1987 that has served several national sports entities including Fox Sports 1, NASCAR and the IZOD® IndyCar Series. JHE is based out of Harrisburg, N.C.
As an employee of JHE, he is also responsible for setting up the pre- and post-race NASCAR shows and on-track concerts.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it. A lot of moving parts, a lot of man hours,” Fair explained. “With NASCAR it’s minute by minute. We’ve got less than 15 minutes to take down everything that took us an hour to set up” Fair said of the pre- and post-race shows.
For the past four years, Fair said he has enjoyed working with Freightliner, which hosts race guests at the hospitality trailer. Fair is responsible for keeping it stocked and running smoothly.
“They’re great to work with,” Fair said. “They love the display and how it’s set up and how it entertains their guests.”
But before Fair was cruising around from track to track in his now 2015 Freightliner Coronado, he was a kid in Fort Pierce, Fla., admiring the big rigs his father drove.
“I grew up working on them,” Fair said. At 13, he moved to Brunswick, Ga. where he finished high school. At 18, Fair attended that first dirt track race and it wasn’t the stock cars that first caught his eye.
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“It was the big semis and trucks coming in. That’s actually what got me into trucking,” Fair said.
In the mid-1990s, Fair got his CDL and was doing local oil delivery. At the time, East Tennessee was home.
“There was a need for commercial licensed drivers, so the next thing I knew, I was getting phone calls, ‘Can you drive us here this weekend or there this weekend?’ It turned into full-time,” he said.
When he wasn’t behind the wheel of a big rig, he was in the driver’s seat of a Ford Pinto®, 4-cylinder class stock car on both dirt and asphalt tracks.
“I built my first race car and the first year I won two races and finished second in points,” Fair said, adding he traveled to local tracks in East Tennessee. “Then I raced for another owner and won a championship and 12 out of 13 races. It was neat. We were more worried about racing and having fun than a championship.”
Then came the big leagues. A close friend who happened to be a NASCAR official referred him to Toyota®, where he hauled the company’s NASCAR display for three years. Once the contract was up, he returned to Tennessee to work in construction. After three years, he got the call to work for JHE.
Though Fair is a stone’s throw away from superstar athletes, singers and television stars at any given race weekend, his focus is the job.
“They’re there to perform and so are we. As soon as they get done with their performances, it’s our turn,” Fair said. “We’ll shake hands and say, ‘Hi,’ talk for a couple seconds sometimes, but it’s hurry up and get it done. It’s not all glitz and glamor for us.”
However, that doesn’t mean working the Freightliner hospitality trailer doesn’t come with perks.
“I get to watch the whole race after everything is stocked and clean,” Fair said. “I get to watch it just like everybody else does on TV or on top of the trailer.”
Away from the job during the NASCAR season, Fair said he enjoys spending time with his wife Christy, his four children (ages 24, 22, 16 and 14) and his “fifth child,” a black lab named Link.
“We try and travel some. My older sons live in St. Simons Island in Brunswick, Ga., so we try to get down there,” Fair said. “We play family games, darts, that’s one of our big things.”
For about a half a year, Fair has also gotten back into racing -- this time with go-karts.
“Believe it or not, race,” Fair said of what he enjoys doing most away from his full-time NASCAR job.
Though working in the racing industry wasn’t his dream job as a kid, it’s turned into a dream career, from driving the latest Freightliner trucks to never slowing down.
“The enjoyable part of the driving the Freightliner is it’s a new, clean truck. When you get out to the truck stop, people want to talk to you about it. It’s very comfortable,” Fair said. “Probably the most enjoyable part of working in NASCAR is it’s never repetitious work. There’s always something different going on.”
Q&A with Jaime Fair:
1.) If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be? My black lab.
2.) What would be your dream vacation spot? I guess a private island; just where you’re not around a bunch of people. I spend so much time around crowds.
3.) If you had to do another job, what would you enjoy? The captain of a boat.