Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Keith Urban, then an online chat

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It was raining when I finally got out of bed this morning in Daytona, but at the time that was the least of my problems.
I was supposed to be in the infield at the track at 8:45 a.m. at ESPN's pit studio to do a thing on "Outside the Lines." The show started at 9 and I was supposed to be on live at 9:09.
When I opened my eyes, the clock in my condo said 8:09. That could not be right. I had set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. but, being the genius I am, forgot to turn the actual alarm on. So the clock was not lying.
I took a drive-by shower and decided not to shave. I figured a little bit of stubble would be better than new nicks for those viewing in high-definition. I dressed, bolted for the car and fought my way into the track by 8:40. It was pure luck that I got there that fast. I made it to the studio just a couple of minutes late and did my little deal on the air.
Not the kind of stress you need on race morning in Daytona.
It was raining pretty good out on the beach when I left but here at the track it hasn't really rained a lot as of 12:20. There's rain all around us on the radar, and there's no telling if we'll get the race in on time without delays or anything. It just depends on how lucky we get. I am trying to stay optimistic.
The highlight of the morning has been Keith Urban's appearance in the media center. Instead of just doing a press conference, he came in and did two songs and took question. He sang the old America song "Sister Golden Hair," took some questions, and then sang "Sweet Thing," his own new song.
Unlike a lot of people who make a living in the music business these days, this guy can carry a tune and he plays the guitar well. It was actually cool and he seems like a nice guy. Nicole Kidman was in the room, too, and somebody asked Urban what his favorite racing movie is. Kidman, of course, was in "Days of Thunder" with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise, who also is here at the track today.
Urban was very clever with his answer. He paused for a minute and said, "Cars." Which, of course, is a very good racing movie.
On the subject of racing, I was honored to shake the hand of a true racing legend in the media center today. Mr. Raymond Parks, the car owner for 1949 NASCAR champion Red Byron, was here and I got a chance to tell him how he honors us with his presence.
We're still holding our breath here hoping the rain stays away enough for us to have a Daytona 500 today. I am scheduled for a live online chat at 1 p.m. on charlotteobserver.com, so come find us over there.
Happy race day, I hope.

16 comments:

Holleracha said...

DP you live a charmed life! Girfriend Sick Best friends kid sick Watchin 500 with cat!!

Holleracha said...

Rather than a make or break season for NASCAR, maybe it is just a change in direction. I dont have the money to go to the track but I also dont have the bucks to spend to go anywhere else either. So I'll be at home watching the races on TV.

Spanky said...

Hmmm was wondering if Stewart chased you around Daytona after you acused him of using Chineese Children labor for the manufacture of his souvenier clothing? Or does he know yet of the remark you made?

Holleracha said...

Well all carry horrified looks on the way to WalMart

Anonymous said...

Sure seems like they pulled the plug awful fast on the race. What happened to "fan friendly"?
The weather cleared up. They have lights and have gone to 2 am at Daytona in the past. After all this is the Daytona 500.
Was FOX network involved in the decision? NASCAR looks real bad on this one.

Anonymous said...

When you said you shook the hand of a true racing legend I was shocked that it wasn't a driver from HMS...seeing that that's all you write about.
By the way Roush is spelled R O U S H,Ford is spelled F O R D.
Knowing that you haven't written about these things I thought you might need some help.
Guess your busy trying to come up with some BIG words that will constitute Juniors actions on the track yesterday.

Holleracha said...

The name of the "vast government conspericy" group in the X Files was Roush!

Richard in N.C. said...

I feel certain the discussion on EESPN did not include anything about its lack of respect for its customers in general or racing fans in particular. At least as bad as EESPN treats NASCAR fans, it treats NHRA fans as if they do not exist - but then of course EESPN did invent sports broadcasting, as they see it.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR just followed the rules they have in place, but I think they need to make some changes to their rules on Daytona.

It's already a different kind of race with the whole qulifying on Thursday. Why not make sure that it does go for 500 miles?

Last season MLB came up with a new rule on plyoff games. It's time for NASCAR to do the same.

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