Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: Bullz-Eye Attends the Daytona Coke Zero 400

There are those who, when approached with the opportunity to venture forth to Daytona Beach, FL, and attend not one but two NASCAR races, would do a dance of joy…one which would, quite possibly, resemble the Boot Scootin’ Boogie. (Does anyone even still do that anymore? I apologize: my country music references are highly dated.) My reaction to this kind offer, however, was to acknowledge its inherent coolness in principle, then take a step back and allow someone else to take advantage of the opportunity. Yes, my inner child was jumping up and down at the thought of a free trip to Florida, but my inner journalist immediately reminded me of the score:

“Not only do you not know jack about NASCAR, but you have no real interest in any kind of sports. Surely someone…anyone…would be better suited to tackle this trip than you.”

My inner journalist may not get to come out and play very often, but when he’s right, he’s right. Despite the accuracy of his premise, however, the reality of the situation was that there was no one else to tackle the trip: everyone else’s schedule for the 4th of July weekend was already booked up. As such, all eyes turned to the guy who’d made the mistake of casually saying, “I guess I can do it if no one else is available.”

Whoops. Guess I’m going to Daytona.

Day 1:

As I have never, ever taken a trip for Bullz-Eye that hasn’t involved some sort of flight delay, it doesn’t really come as any surprise that the trip from Norfolk to Daytona finds me stuck in Charlotte for longer than I’m supposed to be. I didn’t even bother to try and find out what the problem was. I just shrugged, sat down and plugged in the laptop, and kept myself occupied until my flight finally did get around to taking off. I did have one brief panic attack when I called the hotel in Daytona to make sure that my delay wouldn’t complicate the rest of the day’s plans, only to learn that there was no reservation listed under my name, but it all worked out in the end. (Turns out everything was booked under the blanket name of “Dodge.”) Once I successfully manage to fly Charlotte to Daytona, I take a taxi to the hotel, check into my room, and gaze longingly at the beach outside my window, never realizing that the weekend will work out such that I will never get to take advantage of it. Still, it sure looked nice…

Once I arrive, I meet my “handlers” for the weekend, Philip and Chuck, who work with Dodge through their employers, New Media Strategies. They’re great guys, but they’re very much car guys…not, as Seinfeld once said, that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s simply that I’m not a car guy. Oh, right, I don’t think I mentioned that before, did I? Yeah, there’s another really good reason why I wasn’t necessarily the best person for this trip. And, yet, in a sense, I’m the perfect person, since I’m able to provide an outsider’s view of the whole experience…or, at least, that’s the angle I’m planning to take. (I say that like there’s any other angle I can take.) I let Philip and Chuck know of my deficiency of knowledge in this weekend’s events. They assure me that they’ll fill me in if I need any additional education to fully appreciate the goings-on. For this, I am grateful.

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