Jimmie Johnson Pepsi 400October 14, 2010 by Victoria
On Sunday, Bill, Gwendolyn and I were invited by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi 400 -- the Helmet of Hope race. We were really excited to get to be part of this and especially to thank Jimmie and his foundation for all they have done for SMA and the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation this year. (If you missed it -- read this.)
We have never been to a NASCAR event and Im not going to lie -- Ive barely even watched the sport. But, Jimmie now has some new fans for life We got to meet Jimmie right when we arrived and while we were trying to profusely thank him, he was so kind and complimentary of us. We were so impressed with him (and he was really sweet to Gwendolyn) and I hope we were able to convey what his support of SMA means to the entire SMA community.
We then headed to the Sprint suite/box right at the beginning of the track behind the pits and got to talk with his foundation a lot more. This was one of the highlights for me. They run a wonderful organization and have been so kind and supportive of us all year long that I really wanted to make sure they knew the impact of their support of SMA. They, too, were kind, thoughtful, and so wonderful with Gwendolyn. And they made us feel so comfortable and welcomed. And we were pretty honored to be the only Helmet of Hope charity there. And, yes, Gwendolyn loved every second. Miss social butterfly was making friends left and right.
Seeing all the behind the scenes and the massive operation of NASCAR was really fascinating. Did you know NASCAR is the second most popular professional spectator sport in the US after football? After a tour of the garages and the track, the race was ready to start. And man, do they go fast. I know a silly observation -- but they go really, really fast -- 180 miles per hour fast and for hours...in the blinding heat and sun. Bill and I have a new found respect for the sport. We stayed for the entire race and Jimmie battled hard all day to take 3rd place and extend his lead in the Sprint Cup standings. Way to go Jimmie -- #48! We love ya!
This definitely was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We felt so honored to get to be part of this, to get to thank Jimmie and his foundation in person for their support and incredible generosity, and we were so appreciative of this experience.