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est. October 4, 2006

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The Daly Planet

Various Other Articles

Hangin' With Helton, Chapter One
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By Carol Einarsson | 10/16/2016
Category: Various Other Articles

  Saturday night there was an informal reception of sorts at the Hollywood Casino Turn Two sports bar. NASCAR had a private area reserved for their execs and invited media. We were among the latter. When we arrived, we were unsure where the group was, so as we waited for the host to find out where we should go, Dave turned and asked someone who was leaving, and appeared to have been in the same group. "Excuse me, do you know where the NASCAR group is?" As I turn to look, he's asking Rusty Wallace for directions. Yes, really. And without a second thought, Rusty told us where it was. "Thanks, Rusty!"

The reception was lovely, though I felt a bit out of place. Even still, our new best friend with NASCAR told us to get a plate. We did, and there was a seat available next to Mike Helton, so what's a girl to do? Yup, we'll sit there! I have to say, I'm not easily star-struck, and I'm not sure that's what it was, but it was surreal. I've been in a room with him before at the media center, and it was just different this time. The relaxed, non-business nature of it... I'm just hangin' with Helton at a sports bar in Kansas. How ridiculous life is sometimes.

We got up early today to be at the track in time for the pace car rides, because in the springtime, communications got mixed up and we missed our chance. This time, though, NASCAR sent someone to get us and escort us there! (Back to that ridiculous life thing...) So Dave rode up front with Brett Bodine and I sat in the back seat.  I thought about my job duties as they pertained to this event. I'm in the back seat of a car driven by a Bodine... this is your chance, Carol Einarsson. Don't worry, I didn't want the both of us to get kicked out of the car on the backstretch, so I just sat quietly. And prayed we weren't killed. Seriously, though, Brett Bodine is always very gracious, and in the spring when we missed out, it was a car driven by David Ragan. I have to say I was a little disappointed that it wasn't Bodine! I'm sure Ragan did a lovely job, but Bodine has a different skill set. He makes laps while being a tour guide. He has a well-prepared spiel, and it's flawless every time. Today was no different.

Dave added to his resume this afternoon. After chatting with another reporter out by the pace car event, she learned he has 30 years in radio broadcasting, so all of a sudden they are BFFs, and Dave may have become her appointed sumpter. Big-hearted and ever-helpful, he carried half her office to another room for her. "When someone's in this business, they really understand like other people don't." I'm hoping he'll show me the Christmas card she sends him this year.

When it came time to go stalk the drivers backstage for some family photos, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I was grateful that Sumpter Dave had some time off. He took the camera and went to work getting some great photos! We'll share those on Facebook, and have a link here in a few days, maybe a week.

Speaking of driver photos, a most unusual thing happened Saturday afternoon. You may or may not know that in addition to writing, my passion really is photography, and portraiture in particular. So there I was, having grabbed the wrong lens before going out the door to Victory Lane on Saturday. It resulted in no full-car shot, but some close-ups that I hope you'll like. You'll likely be surprised at the subject matter, but it's a photographer thing... my love for a beautiful picture superseded my otherwise-preferred subjects.  The second photo, though more candid in nature, is especially precious because each time the big cameras in front of them were ready to flash, both Kyle and Samantha tried to get Brexton to put up one finger, something he hadn't yet discovered. When they finally made it happen for the first time, they looked at the cameras, and nobody had got the shot before that tiny little finger was retracted once more. I don't know if anyone else in Victory Lane got it, but I know I did. The moment it happened the first time. And the proud parental glee is evident on the faces of both mom and dad.



10/17/2016 1:52 am (1)
Your work if fine, the subject matter however is another matter. IMO.
10/17/2016 1:54 am (2)
....And I am not talking about Jimmie and his daughter, it is the other 2 and 3 in your pictures!
10/17/2016 4:09 pm (3)
Thanks Carol for the behind the scenes writeup, can't wait for the cheer-jeer thou,
way more fun the bowtie luncheon... :-)

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