Now, I'm not in the habit of running into NASCAR Nationwide drivers at the local go-kartery, and I'm pretty sure they're too busy to hang at such places. No, this was a promotion put on by the fine folks at Atlanta Motor Speedway as a means of drumming up some interest for the Great Clips 300 this Labor Day weekend.
The routine was simple and straightforward -- the drivers show up, race a few kids (kids get in free to the Nationwide race at Atlanta, by the way), drop a few quotes on the media, then race said media.
Allgaier, currently ranked third in the Nationwide standings, spoke briefly about the idea of a championship for Nationwide-only drivers. Considering the fact that the guys ahead of him are Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards, he's unsurprisingly in favor of such an idea.
Both Allgaier and Leffler had high praise for the high speeds of Atlanta. But poor Leffler got stuck trying to wind his way through the tongue-tying slogan you've got to say to get a free ticket at local Great Clips -- "Gimme Gotta Getta Ticket," or something like that.
And then it was time for me to race these guys. That's Allgaier there in his own helmet. Now, both drivers are shorter than five-seven and I'm well over six feet tall, so if we were playing basketball, I'd be fine, but on these guys' turf? Well, I'm just a six-three moving chicane.
I'll spare you the play-by-play, except this:
• My spotter did a crappy job of telling me where the other drivers were -- didn't hear him at all, matter of fact.
• The track wasn't rubbered in at all; I was all over the place.
• If Sam Hornish Jr. is "Dances With Walls," my nickname would be "Dirty Dances With Walls."
• Have you ever been standing on a sidewalk and watched cars fly past you? Yeah, that was pretty much my perspective, except that I was allegedly also moving in a forward direction.
It wasn't all bad, though. AMS offered framed prints of the track to both the fastest and the slowest drivers in the circuit. And thus I've got some new art for my wall. Ain't saying how I got it, just saying I got it.