Daytona Speedweek

February 8, 2003

    On February 8, I had a Board of Directors meeting for the NCM in Bowling Green, KY.  Back in January, Larry Hayes had asked me if Jackie and I would be willing to help out the museum by selling raffle tickets for the DEI car raffle during Speedweek.  After checking our calendar, we agreed.  We didn't hear from Larry until February 6, at which time he said it was a go for Daytona.  Now we were in Atlanta, on our way to the NCM.  We had not planned to make this a rush trip, but now our plans have changed.  We needed to be in Daytona on Wednesday in order to meet the DEI car early Thursday morning.  All deliveries had to be made before 7 AM.  Okay no problem.  Since we had a Tampa Bay Vettes meeting Wednesday night, we left at about 8:30 and arrived in Daytona Beach just after midnight.

    Up at 5 AM to meet the car.  It was our first time seeing the DEI graphics up close and personal:

    Quite nice.  I was lucky enough to be able to drive it about 1000 feet to the Chevrolet display area.  It definitely was an eye catcher for Earnhardt fans!  We didn't even get the car positioned before people were asking us about it.  We have to thank the Chevrolet team for allowing us to be at their display area.  Being included in the Chevrolet Rock and Roll Tour, right next to a classic 1964 Impala was great.  I don't think we even were positioned in the proper place before the first ticket was sold.

    The NCM had provided us with some signage and we had them displayed on the dash and next to the car:

    It was a fun four days for us, although Jackie and I did come home a bit hoarse.  The tickets are selling for $25.00 and will be on sale until June 30, 2003.  This is a fundraiser for the NCM and DEI has jumped on board to help.  It was fun telling all the fans that before delivery Theresa Earnhardt will be autographing the glove box, and that all four drivers, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, and new to the team this year, Ron Fellows, will be autographing the center console.  To help make this even more special the DEI staff will be autographing the under side of the hood.  Most people responded with "Really! Really! Really!"  Many wanted to take pictures next to the car, or even just touch the DEI graphics.  Thank goodness Chevrolet was there to the rescue and we were able to put ropes around the car.

    Even then we had people trying to get under them or reach over them.

    The Chevrolet Rock and Roll Tour was amazing.  They had a huge trailer complete with stage:

    The band "Rodeo Drive", which is out of Orlando, played on and off every day.  Great music, but it made it difficult to sell tickets.  As Thursday progressed into Friday, the band got to know us and started making announcements to the crowd to let all know that the DEI Z06 was there and raffle tickets were available.  Thank you Rodeo Drive from Jackie and me and also from the NCM, as they did get us a lot of attention.  Behind the stage, where everyone was invited, was a display of rock and roll memorabilia from the Hard Rock Café, included in this was one of Elvis Presley's costumes, as well as a Gibson Corvette guitar, signed by Zora Duntov:

    To the right of the stage was a photographer who would take your picture and put it on the web, showing you on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine:

    (Webmaster note: Guitar? What guitar?!?)

    To the left of the stage was a Gibson guitar museum:

    Of course during different times during the day the crew would throw out many giveaways, including small stuffed red Corvettes, key chains, and pins.  This was a large production and we had no idea until we arrived what the display was all about.  The Chevrolet team was wonderful to us; even letting us know where the private port-o-lets were, a very important piece of information for a person there all day long with little time for long breaks.  On Friday the crowds got larger, the band was great and drew in the people:

    I'm not sure, but one of the reasons for the huge throngs of people may have been the arrival of Jim Campbell former Corvette Brands Manager and now Marketing Director-Chevy Racing Nascar & Indy Racing League.  Besides all that he happens to be a good friend of ours and we had a great time catching up on old times and even taking time to get our pictures taken "on the cover of the Rolling Stone":



    Jackie and I had to stick close to the car, only taking a quick break here and there.  I don't think there was a moment when people didn't surround the car.  We went back to the room totally exhausted.  I had told my friend Tommy what we were doing and being the good friend that he is, said that he would help out on Saturday:

    He definitely was a help.  He left his home about four in the morning to arrive at our room about 6:30 AM.  We then car-pooled over to the track.  The crowds were already starting to pour in.  Again the car was surrounded and Jackie and I were very thankful that Tommy showed up to help hand out the business cards.  He even helped out more by having a friend of his, Charlie, from the area come and lend us a helping hand.  We managed to sell some tickets, but handed out thousands of business cards that had all the information on them and directions on how to enter the raffle by contacting the National Corvette Museum by phone at 1-800-53VETTE or on line at  Again, the Chevrolet team and Rodeo Drive kept announcing that the DEI car was there and that we had raffle information:

    The crowds parted to let two of the fans show their moves!

    Then we were lucky enough to have some ladies come by for a visit.  You know us, well try anything to sell another ticket:

    Don't think this didn't draw a crowd!  Our day ended just after the Busch race started and we were happy to go get some dinner with Tommy.  He took us to a place in Flagler Beach called Martins.  We managed to get there before the race let out, and were able to enjoy a quiet and realizing dinner.  By the time we were finishing up the crowds were headed back in from the track.  Tommy headed for home and we headed for bed, knowing that the big day was tomorrow.  Sunday had us up bright and early, raring to sell tickets.  The weather wasn't cooperating and it was overcast with periods of drizzle.  Rain was imminent, but no one knew just when it would hit.  Of course the crowds were massive, and the band played on.  We were caught up in all the excitement and enjoying every minute of it.  Again tickets were selling and again cards were handed out.  Announcements were made that the race was starting early so everyone started toward the track and the anticipation of the Daytona 500.  We were lucky enough to go to the race and had great seats.  Unfortunately the rain did not hold off for long and right after the first caution it came down hard and heavy.  As most know after about an hour and half rain delay the race was back on, only to be red flagged just after the halfway point.  A disappointing but safe ending to what all hoped was a great race.  We were totally exhausted and soaked by the time we got back to the room.  Jackie and I sure do hope that someone with whom we have spoken wins this car.  It's an awesome vehicle!

    Up early again Monday morning to get the car ready for the trip to the NCM.  Again we encountered people milling about.  One couple just had to have their picture taken.  Now it was time for Buzz to then again drive the 1000 feet to the trailer.  Sorry Buzz no picture.  Some fans still managed to find us:

    Once again, "can we just get a picture up close and personal":

    We aim to please, when possible.  Finally the car is loaded:

    We say good bye to a wonderful stint at Daytona:

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