Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jamie McMurray fans tell their story

By Chanda Healton

Every NASCAR  fan has a story to tell, And with their story comes a tale of their favorite driver and how they came to choose that driver. Every driver has a number one fan out there somewhere. I am on a mission to find each NASCAR driver's number one fan. From Jamie McMurray all the way to Michael McDowell, Let the hunt begin!

Today we begin our journey with Chip Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray. Known to be one of the best Restrictor plate drivers in modern history, McMurray has many fans.

Fan Nick Brincks says,

"I've been a NASCAR fan since 2001, when I was 8, and became a McMurray fan when he won at Charlotte subbing for Marlin I like underdogs and he's kind of been one his entire career. He seems humble and shows emotion. I'm excited about this season with the speed Ganassi cars have shown. With the 42 winning, I'm hopeful that Jamie can win soon too."

Let's meet a few other fans! Of the 3 fans we will meet today, one can be crowned his #1 fan!

We start today with Cheryl Reed, 44, from Lancaster, Ohio.

Reed says, "My name is Cheryl Reed, I am 44 years young, living in Lancaster Ohio.
I began enjoying NASCAR in the mid-nineties. It didn't take long to become a real fan. At that time, I didn't have a favorite driver personally period just really enjoyed hanging with other bracelets not to mention the beer and the wings.

When Jamie McMurray building for Marlin in 2002 I was impressed. Not to mention he was a cutie. By 2003 I decided he'd be my person/ driver. Naturally winning rookie of the year was super exciting! I have never suede from knowing he'd always be my favorite driver! I had number 42 diecast and jewelry, it was awesome.

Is it just me or does Reed's fiance look a bit like
 Tony Stewart in addition to being his fan?
My biggest dream was to attend a race and meet him. However attending a race wouldn't come for quite a while and honestly, I'm still waiting to meet him in person.

In 2006 to my huge surprise I saw the number 26 hauler in my hometown. Wow! I pulled in and with more excitement the necessary bake the driver to let me see the car, it was 10 p.m. at a BP gas station haha he obliged me and invited me to hang out the next day where he would be showing the car. Yippee! I spent several hours the next day with "the car." I took many pictures and was happy. The driver promised me an autograph piece of Jamie would be mailed to me talk about WOO HOO! I did receive that picture.  To my devastation, however , it along with the 42 diecast car or lost in a move. Traumatic!

Fast-forward to 2015 finally I got to my first race Charlotte October night race. Can you believe it? It's pouring down rain and it isn't slowing down! Race postponed Ugg waiting one more day ... Sunday beautiful weather, let's go racing! During interdiction finally it's Jamie turn. His four-year-old son yells, "in the # 1 McDonald's Chevy is my daddy Jamie McMurray!" I bawled my eyes out best day ever!

I have since been to Bristol in 2016 April comma where I might add I got engaged to a wonderful Tony Stewart fan at the campground. Bless his heart knowing the race being my favorite activity and him being my favorite it was perfect,the whole Camp cheering! I'm lucky I have been able to visit his race shop and see him on the track in person twice. The only thing I have left to complete is a face-to-face meeting and I am working on seeing how to make that come true."

What would Reed say if she could say one thing to McMurray?

" If I ever got to meet him I probably be in shock haha. I'd like to tell him he has and always will be my favorite beig for a picture with him and send him blessings for each and every race ahead of him.'
Sounds to me like McMurray is already blessed to have such an amazing fan like Reed!

Our next fan is Ashley Buddan, 27, from Twin Falls, Idaho. This is her Jamie McMurray story:

I've only been to one race, Las Vegas in 2010. It was the best day of my life. I've been watching NASCAR since 2002. My grandpa had it on and i just fell in love with the sound of the cars. My first full season was 2003, when Jamie was a rookie. I hadn't picked a driver yet and i was watching the anthem maybe and they showed Jamie and I just melted and was like, that's my guy!!! Been my favorite ever since. 14 years now! Sadly, i have not gotten the chance to meet him. I tried so hard in Vegas. However, when i went into the Neon Garage and saw his car for the first time, i cried. And then going to driver intros and them calling his name, I cried again. He was right there in front of me, I couldn't believe it. Its definitely a dream to meet him. One day, his Crown Royal #26 car came into town and I was late to work because I had to go see it!!

I have 2 signed diecasts, a 42 and a 26. I need a 1 still. I have tons and tons of other stuff as well. I attached my old bedroom when it was all decked out. Sweatshirts, shirts, cards, little toy cars, stuff i made in high school art class. I;m planning on a tattoo. I have race flags and want to put his autograph below it. My licence plate says JMACFAN which stands for Jamie Mac! Its my favorite. Whats special about Jamie is hes so humble and kind. He never has issues with anyone. Hes got a kind heart and is always positive,
even when he crashes. Hes just an all around amazing guy. I cant say enough good things about him."

I absolutely love Nascar and Jamie. Its what I look forward to every Sunday, even when I have to work, I'm a bartender at Applebees, I have a regular customer that comes in and he'll update me on where Jamie is at throughout the race when I'm busy. Nascar is my life and Jamie has been the best part of that for 14 years, and he will continue to to be that for me until he retires.

She believes others should also cheer for McMurray because "Others should be his fan because hes truly a great racecar driver and a great guy. He does charity work. He seems like a great teammate to Kyle Larson. He goes out and does his best every race. Hes a great choice and wont disappoint you!"

Her message to McMurray was hard to choose because there is so much she would like to let him know! "I think that I would want to tell him thank you for always being such a humble person and going out and trying his best every race. And that I'm so proud to be his fan"

Our last fan is part of the NASCAR youth movement but wait, he only likes McMurray, he's actually a Kyle Busch fan! Jon Peterson,17 explains.

Tell me a little about yourself Age, Nascar races you attend. How long you have been a Nascar fan and also how long you have cheered for Jamie McMurray.

I am 17 years old and have been to 2 nascar races (Homestead and Bristol) I been a NASCAR all my life grew up being a Stewart fan then became a Kyle Bucsh fan. Kyle remains as my number one driver however in 2009 I became a Jamie fan 

Have you ever met Jamie? 
I haven't met him however I’m hoping to meet him during the 600 due to the fact I am going to that track. Honestly I would just be one of those people that would get something signed and leave. I first became a fan because of Roush dumping him. I was rather frustrated with that team for doing what they did so he became my #2. I mostly like the fact that he wins when it matters in the biggest races.

Do you have any memorabilia that help you stand out from other fans? 
 I have a 2016 “Mac Tonight” Darlington pit crew shirt race worn. There is only so many of these that exist 

What is special about Jamie that made you into a fan? 
Just him winning the big races 

Why should other be a fan of Jamie McMurray? 
How consistent he is.

And finally if you could say one thing to Jamie what would it be?
 I’m a rather shy person. So I proudly wouldn't really talk to him

Our Trivia quiz will be between Cheryl Reed and Ashley Buddan. As always they hve been asked not to use google for the answers but to answer from the heart! Correct answers are in green and all answers can be found below the quiz! Good luck ladies!

Jamie McMurray trivia

1 What is Jamie McMurray's full name?
Cheryl: James Christopher McMurray
Ashley:James Christopher McMurray

2 How many wins does Jamie McMurray have in his career?
Cheryl: 17 (all 3 series) She is correct and since I didn't say what series, I gave it to her!
Ashley: Hmmm, he has wins at all my favorite tracks. Daytona, Charlotte, Indy, and Talladega. I want to say 6 or 7. I don't know if the AllStar race counts.. I'm going to go with 7. 
Are you counting the Allstar win in your total for race wins or no? Cheryl was then asked to count it.
Yes I'm counting it.

3 What medical condition does Jamie McMurray's charity support?Cheryl: Autism
Ashley:  He has a charity that supports Autism that he started because of his niece.

4 Jamie McMurrey is one of only how many drivers to have won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year and what year did he do this in? This question has 2 answers you wil get a point for each answer.)
Cheryl:  won 2010/ one of 3 drivers
Ashley: Oh man, I want to say he is one of 3 people to ever do this. He did it in 2010. I have the DVDs of these wins

5 How many Xfinity Cup wins does Jamie McMurray have?
Cheryl: 8
Ashley:Oh man, I honestly dont know. 9?

6 What year did Jamie McMurray win his only Camping World Truck race?
Cheryl:  2004
Ashley: 2004! I remember this because me and my little boyfriend at the time had a little bet and he lost. Haha.

7 One of Jamie McMurray's kids was born on a holiday. Which child was it and what holiday was it born on?
Cheryl:  Son Carter Born on Thanksgiving!
Ashley: If I remember correctly Carter was born 2 days before my birthday and my birthday is always around Thanksgiving so Ill go with Carter.

8 What Race Car driver was Jamie McMurray a fan of when he was younger?
Cheryl:  Jeff Gordon (I think lol)
Ashley: Oh man, im not sure of this one. Kyle Petty
9 True or false: Jamie McMurray won his first race in the same year he won rookie of the year.
Cheryl:  False   
Ashley: False, he won his first race subbing for Sterling Marlin the year before in Charlotte!!

10 Chip Ganassi Racing and Jamie McMurray won the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, who were the other 3 drivers to drive the car during the race?
Cheryl:   Kyle Larson, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan
Ashley: Kyle Larson, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan

Bonus: Name any other drivers to have accomplished having won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year.
Cheryl: Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson    
Ashley:Dale Jarrett? I hope so. I think i can remember him being in the booth when it happened. 
Ahhhhhhh, uhm...
If I had to guess, its got to be someone who wins lots of races. So, Im going to guess the king of winning races(though not lately), Jimmie Johnson? 
(Plus 2)
Cheryl 11 out of 11 plus 2 bonus points for a total of 13 points
Ashley 8 out of 11 plus 2 bonus points for a total of 10  points
And our winner is:
Congratulations! You are Jamie McMurray's number 1 fan!

Here are the trivia anwers
1 James Christopher McMurray
2 7 point races 1 Allstar race win
3 Autism
4 3, 2010
5 8
6 2004
7 Carter was born on Thanksgiving
8 Jeff Gordon
9 Fales
10 Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Kyle Larson
bonus Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Simon Pagenaud: Drawing fans far and wide

By Chanda Healton 

Though IndyCar is thought of as an American form of racing with the only race falling outside the USA being the Honda Indy Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, IndyCar has drawn a world wide base of it's drivers. With those drivers have followed an international base of fans. I am searching the world to find each driver's self proclaimed number one fan! If I have more than one fan, there will be a trivia quiz to select our number one fan. Join me on this exciting journey!

We start with the Champion! A man, who you can't help but love to see succeed! Fan Jeff Munden says,"What makes me cheer for Simon Pagenausd is, he really appreciates his fans. He always takes time for us. Plus, he is fast!!!"

 Pagenaud has many fans around the world because of his infectious smile and charming laughter, but it's not just these reasons, he is also very fan friendly and loves to communicate with fans both big and small!

Rick Andrews said,"Through twitter I asked if he could send a quick happy b-day video for my lil boy... and he did!

Fan Kristin Davis said, "My husband and I have grown up watching and loving motor sports, Indy in particular. 3-4 years ago, we took our son Parker, who was 3 years old at the time, to his first IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile. He spotted Simon's orange and black Oculus car and followed him the whole race. He kept telling us, "He's my favorite!"

We went back the next year to the last and final Indy race at The Mile and had the opportunity to meet Simon the Saturday prior to race day while the drivers were playing a "Cornhole competition." Saturday was our adult day, so unfortunately we did not have Parker with us, but we had purchased a Simon souvenir car for him. When we met Simon, we told him he was our son's favorite driver, and he signed the car more than willingly, asking where "the little guy" was.

His personality and friendliness quickly hooked us too, and quickly became our family favorite.
Last year (2016) Parker finally got to meet Simon at Road America and then again at Iowa.
We are proud to crown Parker, Simon Pagenaud's littlest big fan!
He says he "really likes your (Simon;s) driving skills,
and want to be like you when I grow up!"

At Road America, Parker told him how he liked him ever since he was 3 years old and wished him luck at the race. Simon was so good with him and at Iowa, we were luck enough to meet him again during the Fan Autograph session. We had a hand-painted drawing done of Simon's Menard's car done to hang in Parker's room. We brought it with in hopes of him signing it. When we showed it to him, he was so excited, and so appreciative of us being his fans. He kept showing the drivers around him (Bourdais in particular) the painting so awestruck.

Every time we have gotten to interact with him, he has been so humble, gracious, and just a fun guy. He has been so good with Parker, who we know is a fan for life"

Today I will introduce you to 2 of Simon Pagenaud's fans as well as share the story of a fan who cheers for Pagenaud from West Africa!

Our first fan is Francois Moïse Bamba,49, lives in Burkina Faso in West Africa. I had to translate his responses into English for this story, so all comments will be paraphrased due to the language barrier with his quotes in French.

"Je suis comédien et conteur j'ai 49 ans et je vis au Burkina Faso en Afrique de l'ouest... Depuis que Simon est partit au Etats Unis... Je l'ai connu par sa mère avec qui j'ai eu la chance de travailler..."

I'm a comedian and storyteller I'M 49 years old and I live in Burkina Faso in West Africa... since Simon is left in the United States... I knew him by his mother with whom I had the chance To work.

Being so far from the USA, Bamba has not had a chance to actually meet Pagenaud.

"Non je n'ai pas encore eu la chance de le rencontrer​."

No I haven't yet had the chance to meet him.

However he says he has been a fan from the very beginning and has followed Pagenaud's career though his mother. 

"Depuis ces tout début, je le suivait de part sa mère."

Since these very beginning, I followed him from his mother.

However being an Indycar fan in a place where racing is so new has it's challenges. Bamba had to subscribe to a sports channel to be able to watch his racing and cheer for Pagenaud.

"Dans mon pays nous commençons juste á découvrir les courses automobiles et oui je me suis abonné exprès pour pouvoir voir les courses."

In my country we're just beginning to discover the motor racing and yes I subscribed on purpose in order to be able to see the races.

Bamba also has a message for Pagenaud:

Courage, qu'il continue comme ça, qu'il sache que y a des gens qui le suivent depuis le Burkina et qu'il les rend si heureux á chaque Victoire.

Courage, he continues like this, he knows that there are people who follow him since Burkina and he makes them so happy in every victory.

Our second fan is Cale Putnam who is 31 years old and from the Worcester, Massachusetts area, Putnam had a very unique story on how he met Pagenaud.

"I grew up a racing fan but got into IndyCar full time after the reunification. I started pulling for Simon in 2012.

In 2013 I got to see Simon win at Baltimore, the photo of me laughing like an idiot was from the day before. He saw me in the line with that shirt and gave me the thumbs up, then took that picture. I had not had too many interactions with IndyCar drivers at that point and I was floored by how nice he was. I ended up wearing that shirt to every race weekend since, it always gets a laugh from the other drivers, and it's gotten me on IndyCar's website a couple of times!

I've been lucky enough to meet Simon at every race I've been to since 2013, and at the Boston Auto Show last year! I always wear the "He Loves Crepes" shirt at races and that broke the ice. My first encounter was Baltimore in 2013, he came out from behind the table to take a photo, and was so happy to do it! He's always so gracious whenever I see him, he asks how things are and what races I'm going to. And, of course, at Watkins Glen he asked if I had seen the video of his crêpe flipping skills."

Putnum even has a room dedicated to Pagenaud with a second "He loves crêpes" shirt framed and autographed.

"My piece of memorabilia is a second one of the crêpe shirts I got autographed at Pocono.
When my wife and I were buying our home, I demanded a fan cave, and got the shirt framed with some photos as a centerpiece."

Why Pagenaud? Well that's simple. Sometimes it it the little stuff that draws us to a driver and then we notice the bigger things about them.

"What originally made me a fan was just how cool the HP car looked! But after meeting Simon I was all in - I couldn't believe a racing driver could be so down to earth. He can also be funny as all get out. Last year was a bit stressful but awesome. Simon is always fantastic and it was amazing seeing him reach the top. He is just such a good human being, and that's a big reason why I am a fan"

He also argues that everyone should love Pagenaud:

"Everyone should be a Simon Pagenaud fan. If you've seen the funny videos and the interviews and thought, "He seems like a cool guy," I can guarantee you that he's even cooler than that. IndyCar has a ton of great guys on the roster right now, but Simon really stands out as a driver who is wicked fast but also totally approachable and so incredibly gracious. Oh, and he's the Champ. And he quotes Days Of Thunder!"

If Putnam could pass one message on to Pagenaud, what would he want his favorite driver to know?

"What I would say to Simon is, "Congratulations! You completely deserve the Championship. 2016 was an awesome year to be a fan of yours. Thank you for always being cool and for all of the amazing moments, both off the track and on. You are exactly what makes IndyCar so great. I owe you a crêpe at some point!"

There is only one question left to be answered before we can consider crowning Cale Putnam Simon Pagenaud's number one fan. It's a very important question. 

Do you actually like eating crêpes?
"I do! I actually need to find a gluten free crêpe recipe since I got put on that diet by my doctor last year."

Lori Bryant, from also claims she is Pagenaud's biggest fan!  So let's learn about Bryant.

"A little about me, mom to two college aged sons that I'm very proud of and living in Chagrin Falls, OH. My husband and I are high performance driving instructors and teach at racetracks around the country many weekends a year as well as organizing driving events My family and I are huge IndyCar fans and we attend Detroit/Belle Isle and Mid-Ohio races every year since Simon joined IndyCar. We've been to about 2 dozen races overall. We went to the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2010 to see Simon when he was in sports car racing.
I've been Simon's fan since 2008 and see him a few times a year at races and tests. We chat about all kinds of things.
I email him a good luck message before every race.
My husband can send pictures tonight or tomorrow.
I have a shirt and/or hat from every team he's been with since 2008.
Lori Bryant with Simon Pagenaud
As an added bonus he even liked this tweet!
Most are autographed. I send him a birthday card every year. I have baked him and his team cookies as a thank you.
Simon and I met at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Mother's Day 2008. He had just won the Atlantic Series Championship (2007) and earned a seat with Team Australia and Derrick Walker. (His teammate was Will Power).
He had a two day test on that Monday and Tuesday and had used a simulator for the circuit but had never driven it and wanted a ride. He asked me for a ride around the track so I showed him how to drive it. We exchanged contact information after the driving and we've been friends ever since :)
I have attended at least two races per year to see Simon race, including Laguna Seca, Detroit/Belle Isle and Mid-Ohio. I have followed him through one year of Champ Car, three years of ALMS with first Gil de Ferran and then Highcroft Racing where they won the championship.
We were thrilled to see him go to the Indy Car Series and Simon has been amazing in this series, Rookie of the Year and finishing third overall his first year.
Now with Team Penske he has no limits!
Simon has invited me to test days in sports car racing and Indy Car. I wear his autograph on my helmet in my role as high performance driving instructor at racetracks all around the country. He wrote 'to my fan #1' on my #22 Simon Pagenaud shirt when he drove that car for Sam Schmidt Racing.
Heck, I drove him to the Cleveland Hopkins airport from a Mid-O test so he could fly to France to drive the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2009!
I just saw him at the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit in January and have photos.
We'll be traveling to Detroit the first weekend in June to see him race the double header race on Belle Isle.
He has already invited me to the July test date."

What can she offer up to new fans when choosing a driver? Well for starters,

"Simon is special because he is humble and very appreciative of his opportunity to live in the United States and do what he loves and excels at.Everyone should be a fan of this incredibly talented and kind young man because he shares the credit of his success with his teammates."

She also sends this message to Pagenaud:

"My message to Simon--we want to see you on top of the podium at Indy 500 with the Borg Warner trophy and repeat your championship in 2017! Good luck and be safe Simon!"

This is the trivia challenge to crown the winner
Correct answers are in green!

What City and country was Simon Pagenaud born in?

C Montmorillon, France
L.  Simon was born in Poitiers, France May 18, 1984. I mail him a birthday card every year.

How old was Simon Pagenaud when he started racing Go Carts?

C 6 years old
L  I believe he started karting at age 14

What year did Simon Pagenaud start his professional racing career in French Formula Renault?

C 1999
L He first drove in French Formula Renault in 2002

What breed of dog does Simon Pagenaud have and what is his name?

C Jack Russel terrier named Norman Pagenaud
L His dog Norman is a male Jack Russell Terrier and he is one year old.

Is Simon Pagenaud from a racing oriented family?
C His father runs a supermarket, so based on that I'll say No.
L Simon is not from a racing family. His dad Christian owns a grocery store and his mom Sylvie is a dancer and choreographer.

What year did Simon Pagenaud first move to Indianapolis to race?
C 2005
L Simon moved to Indianapolis in 2006.

How many wins does Simon Pagenaud have in the Grand Prix of Indy? What years?

C 2 - 2014 and 2016
L Simon has two wins in the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the 2014 Inaugural event and again in 2016.

What other Indycar driver did Simon Pagenaud race with in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic series?

C Graham Rahal
L ) Simon drove with Graham Rahal in the 2006 Atlantic Series. Simon won the championship and Graham finished second overall. The championship was decided at the last race at Road America.

When Simon Pagenaud participated in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb what vehicle did he use?
C 2013, Honda Odyssey
L  Simon drove a Honda minivan in the Pike's Peak Hill Climb.

How many IndyCar races has Simon Pagenaud won?

C 9 - Detroit 2013, Baltimore 2013, Indy GP 2014, Houston 2014, Long Beach 2016, Barber 2016, Indy GP 2016, Mid Ohio 2016, Sonoma 2016
L Simon has nine IndyCar wins. He also has nine poles, 19 podiums and four fastest laps. He has 72 IndyCar starts.

Final score
Cale: 7
Lori: 8

And so now it's the moment you have all been looking for, the crowning of Simon Pagenaud's Number one fan! It was hard to choose but the quiz has decided that his number one fan is Lori Bryant! However, because of his dedication to Pagenaud, I hereby recognize Cale Putnum the King of the Crêpes. Pagenaud is lucky to have so many great fans, and in the hearts of his fans, he will always be number one! If you would like to share your fan story of Pagenaud, please do so in the comments!

Correct answers are at the bottom of the story!

Tune in next week as we search for Josef Newgarden's number 1 fan!

Don't forget to follow us on twitter at @FLRNews and Facebook, or to participate in the number one driver challenges email us at Fastlaneracingnews@gmail.com

here are the correct answers for those who wants to know

Poitiers, France.



Norman Jack Russell Terrier



2 2014, 2016

Graham Rahal