NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600: Pit Notes #11
Adam Wilson is no different than most NASCAR fans. He became a fan by going to races with his dad, who started out the same way. Wilson is now introducing his 4-year-old son Gaven to the NASCAR tradition. But Adam Wilson has an ace in the hole: The Fan Zone.
With everything from a Ferris wheel to a giant inflatable slide to a petting zoo – plus games, face painting, giveaways and more – Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 10-acre fan activity area can provide hours of entertainment for the up-and-coming race fans. And that makes the parents (and grandparents) of those young fans very happy campers.
“We come every year, and the kids have a great time,” said Judy Turbeville while her grandchildren, ages 4 and 6, tumbled nearby on the giant slide. “I love this expanded area. It’s so great, because they have all that pent-up energy, and this is a really great outlet for that. They really look forward to coming to the races now.”
Adam Wilson and his wife Kim had not brought their own son to the races with them until they saw the Fan Zone last spring. But one look at the interactive fun spot, and the couple decided to bring him along for their return trip in October.
Gaven Wilson, a preschooler with a mop of blond curly hair and chubby cheeks half-hiding under the black hat he caught from a sponsor booth, said feeding the goats was his favorite part of Fan Zone. He was also looking forward to getting a Batman painted on his face and watching Dale Earnhardt Jr. race.
“We’re trying to no doubt break him into racing, so we’re using this as the way to break him into that,” Adam Wilson said. “No offense to the other tracks, but we couldn’t take him most anywhere else. This is perfect for when he’s little, and then when he’s older, he’ll come because of the racing.”
VISITING WITH ‘PAWN STARS’ – The Grand Marshalls for Saturday’s HISTORY 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, from the television show ‘Pawn Stars’, visited with the media prior to the event. Rick Harrison and his son, Corey, and Corey’s childhood friend, Chumlee, chatted about the experience of coming to a NASCAR event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We just were walking around and checking everything out,” said Rick Harrison. “It’s the first time here seeing a race for us. Seeing my face on the hood of a race car though is a little weird though. (Have you been to our sister track at Las Vegas?) Yea, I’ve seen NASCAR there plenty of times. (On having breakfast with race fans) Apparently, there was a big, big, Dale Earnhardt fan there because he dressed just like him. No, it was real fun. I just appreciate all the people that watch the show and meeting them.”
Earlier in the day, an episode of ‘Pawn Stars’ was shown on the world’s largest HDTV, which sits along the backstretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but Rick Harrison said he didn’t watch.
“I try not to watch myself on television,” said Harrison. “It just really weirds me out! I don’t know what it is. We’ve done, I think, 116 episodes and I’ve never watched one of them.”
Rick Harrison also noted how the show has changed all of their lives. “It’s kind of weird,” said Harrison. “It’s hard to go anywhere because it’s a million cameras in your face. But, I think I am still the same guy. I still have the same friends I have at home.”
Corey Harrison added his thoughts also. “I think life is still the same,” said Corey. “My wife still yells at me to take the trash out when I come home at night. It’s just a little nicer house now.”
The show ‘Pawn Stars’ follows three generations of the Harrison family, who own and operate Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas.
Pawn Stars debuted in 2009 and quickly became the network’s highest rated show and No. 2 reality show on television. HISTORY picked up on two spinoff series, ‘American Restoration’ and ‘Cajun Pawn Stars.’
Also making the rounds the ‘Pawn Stars’ was Rick Dale of American Restoration. “We got to see a lot of the pits and the garages,” said Dale. “Everybody here has been really nice to us. We are just enjoying this.”
Dale also restores old Coca-Cola machines on the show. “We restored an old Cavalier2 Coca-Cola machine,” said Dale. “And they had a thing where someone could win the old Coca-Cola machine when they got here. We had over 68,000 entries and one lucky winner won this machine. So, we got to meet him, too. It was really cool to be involved in that. We did something on Friday with Greg Biffle. That will come up on the show very soon.”