Want to know what it's like to be the winner of our 5-hour ENERGY® Race Reporter Contest? Find out first hand by reading this play by play blog written by Beth Beutler, this year's winner!
Guest blog post by 5-hour ENERGY® Race Reporter winner Beth Beutler:
I still remember the day I got the email saying that I had won the contest to be a social media race reporter for 5-hour ENERGY® and Michael Waltrip Racing. I couldn't believe it, and my coworker was amused with my almost hyperventilating. I had submitted my entry several months before and it was so exciting to find out I'd be the winner!
So, let me tell you what the experience was like.
We live within two hours of Charlotte, and we opted to head up on Thursday and make a full weekend of it all.
We visited a relative and briefly went through the charming downtown of Mooresville, which is considered racing city. Then we headed to the hotel, a very nice one, and checked in. We later headed to the track to pick up our HOT passes, which allowed us entry into the garage and pit area...a very cool behind the scenes experience.
There were several activities happening on Thursday, including the Better Half Dash, where wives and
girlfriends race smaller cars for charity. I got to meet and get photos with Ashton Bayne and Ashley Stremme, Billy Mauldin of Motor Racing Outreach, and Darryl Waltrip! I also saw other people like Ricky Craven and Amy Reimann, but I took a case-by-case basis as to whether I would try to get pictures...I didn’t want to be rude. We took a walk over to the garage area and that’s when I discovered Clint Bowyer's car...with MY name on it! I was pleasantly surprised to find the name decal to be a very nice size and on a great location on BOTH sides of the car. What a feeling!
We went to Michael Waltrip Racing headquarters for a special behind-the-scenes tour. We were treated to lunch by three employees and our 5-hour ENERGY® rep at a local BBQ joint, and then Anna (marketing for MWR) gave us a very thorough tour of the shop, pit practice area, and other not- regularly-seen areas of the complex. I got to experiment with getting in and out of a car...not something I'd want to do a lot of AND especially if I'd just crashed or the car was on fire! Michael was occupied with Dancing with the Stars, but we did get to peek into his office. One of the employees is training to be on pit crew and would be helping a Nationwide team that night, so he invited us to be in the pits for the NW race. We headed over to the track and enjoyed some more of the atmosphere in the garage area, and hung out at the #15 hauler. Just before practice Clint came out of the hauler. We weren’t supposed to meet him until the next day but he was kind to stop for a moment and exchange greetings. It was amazing to have cars driven by Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, Dale Jr. and of course Clint, within feet of us.
That evening, we sat in the pit area for a small Nationwide team for part of the Nationwide race Friday night then headed back to the hotel to get some rest for the big day on Saturday!
The weather did not look promising initially. A storm and rain attacked the area and it was pouring when we stopped into the 5-hour ENERGY® hospitality bus for the first time. But it let up and we went to the 'tweet up' because I wanted to meet some fans that use Twitter. Since we had been given shirts to wear that matched the crews, I looked really official-HA! We brought samples and I got photos with various fans and a couple of my favorite reporters.
Awhile later we got a garage/pit tour with Anna, met some of the guys on the crew, had a meet and greet with Clint (with a chance for a photo), got dinner from the team caterers and ate at the hauler. Last but not least, I was videotaped about my experience, which made me feel almost like a "real" reporter. On pit road during opening ceremonies, it was almost surreal to be standing with all the racing folks, and looking up into the stands. I got my picture taken again with the car and with Clint and I by the car on either side of my decal.
We then went to the #15 pit box and my husband and I were allowed to stand with the team during the national anthem...ON PIT ROAD. We then did high fives with the team and they included us in the huddle--they asked me to give them the pep talk. I said a couple things and we yelled "Go, Clint go" which was the hashtag I'd been using for my reporting. This was a highlight of the experience.
We sat in the pit box for the first 100 laps Clint raced before the engine unfortunately blew. So we got to experience the real feeling teams have of a disappointing race. But we were able to watch the rest of the race from the 5-hour ENERGY® hospitality trailer which was atop turn 2. What a feeling to have over 40 cars rush by you, with a wind gust full of pieces of rubber! We kept our radios for the entire race and sometimes sat on top of the trailer, but ironically, we saw all the ruckus in the garage area via the TV in the bus!
We had a final breakfast with our 5-hour ENERGY® rep and went our separate ways. We headed to the NASCAR Hall of Fame (we had been given free tickets) and finished our NASCAR weekend with a review of the past and present. On the way home, I posted my last update to social media (I'd been posting throughout the entire experience) and actually cried. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I really appreciate being chosen. It was a cloud a little tough to come down from!
Thanks 5-hour ENERGY® and Michael Waltrip Racing for the great experience. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year...and my life!
Labels: 5-Hour Energy, 5-Hour Energy Racing, contests