Friday, November 30, 2007

Awards, parties set my mind reeling

Thursday 11:15 p.m.

NEW YORK CITY -- The strangest stuff gets me thinking.
I'll bet I walked two miles today. That's a lot of for an old fat man like me. I walked to the Sirius studio before sun up, then back to the hotel. I did take a cab over to the Myers Brothers luncheon because I was running late, but I walked back. Then I walked back to Sirius for "Tony Stewart Live," then down past the Waldorf-Astoria to a party (more about that in a minute).
On the way back from there, I walked about eight or 10 blocks and everywhere you looked there was trash. Not stuff strewn about, but stacks of bagged garbage waiting to be picked up.
On the street where my hotel is, the trucks were starting to make their pickups and I started wondering how many people spend pretty much every night of the week just collecting and removing trash and taking it off this island.
I told you it was strange.
I hate I missed the start of the Myers Brothers Awards program because I wasn't there in time to see Robert Yates get the Buddy Shuman Award. That award recognizes someone for long-time contributions to racing, and the folks who pick the winner each year have a knack for making outstanding selections.
Yates was a tremendous choice. The former engine-building genius who retired after the 2007 season as a car owner gave much of his heart, much of his life and much of his soul to the sport.

It was also great to see my friend, Don Miller, win the inaugural Home Depot Humanitarian Awards.
Miller started Stocks for Tots in 1989 and, with a lot of help from a lot of great people, more than $400,000 and 40,000 toys have been raised on behalf of the Stop Child Abuse Now network in the history of the event held each December in Mooresville.
How does Miller get dozens of NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, officials and other people connected to the sport to give up a night each year to sign autographs for fans and help assemble huge amounts of memorabilia to be auctioned to raise money? He asks, and people respect him enough to say yes.
The award came with a $100,000 check, which will go a long way toward helping a cause Miller feels passionately about.
By the way, Stocks for Tots this year is set for Dec. 11.

Betty Jane France graciously accepted the Myers Brothers Award that was given to her late husband, Bill France Jr., and that got me thinking, too. This has to be hard week for the France family. Having the awards ceremony in New York City was Bill Jr.'s big idea, and he loved having it here. He thought it gave the sport the kind of recognition it deserved.
I saw Lesa France Kennedy for a minute at the luncheon but didn't get to speak to her. It's the first time I've seen her since her husband, Bruce, was killed in a plane crash this summer. I know she misses him every day, but being here as the holiday season begins must be very difficult, too.
I understand NASCAR has asked the drivers who'll be speaking at the awards ceremony tonight to address any condolences they make to the France family, rather than having 10 drivers specifically mention Bill Jr. and Bruce so the family has to sit through that all night. I think that's smart. There will be a tribute to the folks the sport lost this year built into the program, I hear.

After the "Stewie Awards" show at Sirius, I walked to a club that Dale Earnhardt Inc. rented for a reception for the media. I finally found the place after walking down the wrong street for several blocks and walked over to get a soda.
While I was waiting on it, I saw Karen Bruce, the wife of NASCAR Scene writer Kenny Bruce, sitting down. So when I got my soda, I walked toward her. She was talking to someone who had her back to me, so I tried to lean in and shake Karen's hand and sort of brushed past the person sitting with her.
Teresa Earnhardt.
OK, so after apologizing for that and feeling like an idiot for about 15 minutes, I worked my way back through the crowd to speak to Teresa again. She couldn't have been more gracious. The entire evening was "off the record," and that was fine. I asked her about her daughter, Taylor, whom I haven't seen for several years. Taylor and my stepdaughter, Emily, are about the same age. It's the kind of thing that happens during banquet week in New York that makes it worth coming up here.

I left to come back. Most people who came by the DEI party had another stop to make. Sprint hosts a big, BIG party late Thursday night each year at a club called the Marquis, and it's rapidly becoming quite legendary. It usually doesn't really get started until around 11 p.m., but I've got a radio show in the morning at 7.
Speaking of which, good night.


Anonymous said...

You are a good writer.

Anonymous said...

Mr. POOLE- I often disagree with you, but you really are a very good writer and one of a very, very few NASCAR beat writers who I look for almost everyday. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your articles. I listen to your radio show on Sirius daily.

Keep up the good work.