Although this website is called “Aaron Torres Sports,” by now most of you know that the title is a tiny bit misleading. Yes, I cover “sports,” at Aaron Torres Sports, but simply don’t have the time, energy or interest to cover them all. By now, if you’re a regular reader, you know what you’re going to get out of me and this site; essentially a whole lot of college football and college basketball, with a smattering of NBA, NFL, baseball and the occasional tennis article mixed in as well. On the other hand, if golf, soccer, gymnastics, badminton, lawn bowling or stick ball are more up your alley, well, then you’re going to have go to somewhere else for news and opinion.
And admittedly, when I did start this site, one sport that I always assumed I’d lump in with that latter group was NASCAR. I’m ashamed to admit this now, but as recently as six or seven months ago, I literally knew nothing about the sport; nothing about the intricacies of it; nothing about the relationship between driver and pit crew; and nothing about what happened on race day. I was a NASCAR novice. And frankly, I always expected to stay that way.
Thankfully though (and yes, I am thankful) that began to change this winter.
As you may remember, it was back in February that I had a chance to interview NASCAR superstar Joey Logano prior to the Daytona 500. It was a fun and lively 15 minutes, and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity.
But as much as I enjoyed the interview, what I actually enjoyed even more was the lead-up to the interview, and the process of educating myself on NASCAR. While prepping to talk to Joey I learned a lot of the dynamics behind the sport, and all the little things that can be the difference between a win and loss on race day. In that way, NASCAR really is like any other sport; the tiniest of details are what lead to ultimate success or failure on race day.
But as thankful as I am for that interview with Joey and the education that came with it, I have something even bigger to be thankful for in this weekend.
Why is that? Well, it’s because I’ll be attending my first ever NASCAR race! Yup, that’s right. I will be in Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. And I could not be any more excited.
Well, actually, I need to make a bit of a correction. It isn’t technically the “Brickyard 400.” Instead, it’s the “Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard.”
Wait, what? By now you’re probably wondering who Curtiss Shaver is, and what he has done to have earned the honor of having the race named after him. Let me explain, but just know this: Curtiss Shaver is why I will be in Indianapolis this weekend.
You see, over the last five years (this will be No. 6) Crown Royal (the lead sponsor of the event) has used the Brickyard 400 to honor the folks they call “Hometown Heroes.” While we too often designate athletes as “heroes,” it’s actually the people on the ground, the firefighters, police officers and military personnel who are the real difference makers in our communities. And thankfully, Crown Royal is honoring them this weekend at the Brickyard.
As for Mr. Shaver (and hopefully by the end of the weekend, I’ll be able to call him “Curtiss”), well, he absolutely fits the bill as a hometown hero. A few years back, Shaver suffered an accident in which he needed his lower left leg amputated… which sounds bad, except that if it weren’t for the local firefighters, he might not have made it at all. Thankfully he did survive the accident, and at that point Mr. Shaver did decide to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter himself. He did exactly that, and now both a firefighter and EMT in his hometown of Troy, AL.
Regardless, Mr. Shaver is the key honoree at the event, which is why the event is named after him. And luckily, myself and a handful of other writers will be in town this weekend to meet him, tell his story and cover the race as a whole.
And when I say “cover”… I do mean we will be COVERING it. Like Darrelle Revis on an overmatched Bills wide receiver, we will be everywhere, in this case, doing a weekend-long NASCAR “scavenger hunt” as part of our responsibilities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as eventually interviewing Mr. Shaver ourselves.
So what will the scavenger hunt involve, exactly? Well honestly, I’m not totally sure, but what I can tell you is this: I’ll be at the track all day Saturday. I’ll be at the race Sunday. I’ll be in pit row. I’ll be in Victory Lane. I may even kiss the gold bricks at the Brickyard as well. Simply put, short of getting behind the wheel myself, there won’t be anything that goes on at a NASCAR race that I won’t be part of. For the next 48 hours or so, I am going to be eating, sleeping and breathing NASCAR.
Again, it’s something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be able to do. But to quote Verne Lundquist: “Myyyyyyyyyyyyyy goodness,” am I excited!
Now obviously, I will be reporting on everything all weekend long, and definitely encourage you to follow along with me. As always, I will be posting pictures and random thoughts on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, as well as updating things on Facebook as well at Facebook.com/AaronTorresSports, and I even started an Instragam account just for fun, which you can follow too (my profile is @ATorres00). And when I get back on Monday, well, I will be documenting it all with a full-fledged recap of everything that happened over the weekend.
So that’s the itinerary, and with it, I do want to say one more thing: Thank you.
Yes, you. Thank you. Because if it weren’t for you- all of you- coming to visit this site, commenting, sharing your own stories and building the community we have now, opportunities like this wouldn’t be possible for me. I’m going to Indianapolis because of some of the great people at Crown Royal (and their managing company Taylor Strategies) but I am going because of you. So thanks again.
Regardless, we will be chatting on Monday, but until then, enjoy the updates via Twitter and Facebook, and oh by the way… look for me on TV Sunday as well!