Tomorrow is the Auto Club Speedway Indycar MavTv 500. Stella and I went last year to go see Charlie Kimball (an Indycar driver with type 1) and had such a good time that she wanted to go again this year.
I bought tickets back in August. Just general admission seats, and pit passes so we could go see the garages. That was plenty of fun last year, and would be pretty amazing again this year. It’s always fun to support an amazing diabadass like Charlie. Now, here is where the story gets interesting.
The Speedway has this program called Lefty’s Kids Club. If you register, kids get in free to the race. Tickets are $30, so this is a pretty good savings. We registered last year, so when I bought tickets this year, I once again didn’t need to pay for Stella. To register, I had to enter my name and phone number.
So one night about a month ago, I’m sitting at my desk working on pictures. Laurie comes to me and says that I got a voice mail, it sounds really cool, but it may be too late. It was from a woman at the Speedway. She called on a Tuesday, and said something about doing a promotion to help promote Lefty’s kids club, and that she would love for Stella to attend, but she needed to hear back the next day. But this was Sunday evening, 5 days later…
There was a time in my life when I just would have said “aww, bummer” and left it at that. But this is life after diabetes. I follow through on things now. Debby (the woman from the speedway) left an office number and a cell number. So at 6:15 pm on a Sunday night, I called her back. I got her voice mail, and I left a message, profusely apologizing for not having called sooner, and saying that I realized I was late, it was Sunday, etc.
About 15 minutes later, she called back. She let me know right away that if I wanted to participate that she still had slots available. I said yes. I still didn’t know exactly what this entailed, but we were already going anyway, so why not? Debby told me that she had a total of 5 slots available, and she had cold called over 50 families, and only had 3 booked at the time. No one believed she was with the racetrack, or didn’t call back. So after I told her we were in, I mentioned that my daughter was a type 1, and we would be bringing a dog. She didn’t even bat an eye, and said well of course!
At the time, she was still finalizing the details of the event, this is the first time they have done this. But she mentioned that the kids may attend the drivers meeting, may get to be near the stage for driver announcements, and would get a t-shirt and hat. I was pretty stoked about that. I thought that would be amazing!
A couple of days later, she calls me back and asks if I know about Charlie Kimball and that he’s a type 1. I told her that he was really the only reason we went last year, and that we were going there again this year just to watch that orange car fly around the track. That he was a hero to us. She asked if it would be okay if she reached out to his PR people to arrange a meet n greet. Well, I said “of course!”. This is getting better all the time!
Charle’s PR people responded right away setting up a time for us to meet and get some pictures. This day is just going to be amazing, right? But wait! There is more!
I got our itinerary yesterday. We get to be at the track 2 hours before it opens. We have to stop at the credential office to pick up our full access pass. Then we have to go check in at our suite! (we share the suite with the other families). We head off to the drivers meeting, where the kids are introduced, then we meet Charlie. After that we get treated to lunch, we get to sit in on a driver’s story time, and then head to an autograph session with the drivers. The kids all get t-shirts and hats. After that, the kids all get to go down to Victory Lane. The kids will be the honorary starters for the Indy Lights race! They get to be out there and say “Drivers, start your engines!” How amazing is that?!? After that we get to hang out and watch that race in the suite before heading back down to pit road when the introduce all the drivers. The kids will be able to high 5 the drivers as they come down the line. Then we get to go back to teh suite to watch the race.
I can’t tell you how excited Stella and I are. And all because I took a shot and returned a call 5 days later. I would have been stoked with a free t-shirt, or an upgraded ticket. But all of this? It’s overwhelming. Debby at the speedway has been SO amazing and gracious. And yes, I can bring my camera. I’ll post pictures this weekend. Crazy, huh?