Saturday, December 6, 2008

NASCAR Is Host To Many Gentlemen

Did you enjoy the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet? I sure did. Who wouldn’t take pleasure in experiencing Jimmie Johnson officially being crowned as the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion amid the opulence of the Waldorf-Astoria, live on ESPN?

I reveled in the history bestowed on the crowd by the King, Richard Lee Petty. There is a racer who truly understood that this sport would be nowhere without its fans. Throughout Petty's career, but especially during his prime, he was known to stand for hours - backed against a fence, signing autographs to everyone who asked. Richard Petty is a true gentleman.

Then the show became very personal to me when the Chevrolet President Ed Peper walked on stage to accept the manufacturer's championship. My husband and I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Peper in September of 2006. Paul had written a short story about his 1991 Chevy Silverado truck (story) and won a trip to Dallas, Texas to take part in the public introduction of the all new Chevy Silverado.

It was an awesome trip. We met Montgomery Gentry; after which we were wined and dined at a V.I.P. party where they gave a private concert. Paul and I attended the Texas State Fair. We were treated to a Cowboy Crush concert and met with them. We were even given an autographed guitar with inlayed bowtie emblems on the fret bar. It is beautiful.

However, what I remember the most is how genuinely nice Mr. Peper was. While sharing a ride to the fairgrounds, we had a nice conversation about our son’s racing experiences. Mr. Peper was such a gentleman and very informed. It was only later that I discovered he was the Chevrolet General Manager.

Seeing Mr. Peper on stage at the awards banquet brought back a flood of fond memories. However, I was saddened to hear him announce his company tribulations. "This is the fight of our lives," he said. I wish him and Chevrolet the best for 2009.

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