Byron High School, Byron, MI — June 15, 2019
Being in the right place at the right time is important when reporting on a story. Especially as big an event as NASCAR driver Erik Jones returning to his hometown for a Fan Day Celebration.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was on a break last weekend for Father’s Day, it seemed like the perfect time for our Sports Editor and NASCAR beat writer, Steve Sweitzer, to schedule a vacation. A trip scheduled well in advance of Erik’s appearance announcement put Steve in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t miss the opportunity to report on Erik’s visit, so let’s just send another reporter. Who knows anything about NASCAR? No hands went up. Who wants to learn? He is young and cute. Great a volunteer.
NASCAR Rookie Reporter
April Daggett is relatively new to the Lasco Press, but she has done a great job on a number of different assignments. Tackling a subject you know nothing about can be intimidating. We told April to go to Erik’s Fan Day Celebration as a fan and just have fun. Then write about the experience later. Here is her report.
Erik Jones Fan Day Celebration
Driving around at high speeds, hearing the sounds of impact guns spinning, experiencing the smell of ethanol and burnt rubber. These things are the normal sounds of an average weekend for NASCAR Champion Erik Jones. But Saturday, June 15, Erik had a rare weekend off as the NASCAR Cup Series was on hiatus for Father’s Day. Erik spent the day at Byron High School, in his hometown of Byron, Michigan for a Fan Day Celebration.
Meet Erik Jones
For those that are not familiar, Erik Jones is an American stock car racing driver. He competes full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driving the #20 Dewalt Tools sponsored race car for Joe Gibbs Racing. In 2015 Erik, just 19 years old, became the youngest NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Champion.
“I’m kind of a reserved guy. I’m really not loud or in your face. That’s not me. Until I get behind the wheel of a race car. Then I’m in your face, in your mirror, then out in the front.” Erik told a crowd of just over 600 people that attended the event. His race car was on display for the public and his fans to peek inside and snap a few photos.
The Event at Erik’s High School
The Fan Day Celebration included a number of cool things for fans who attended. There was free food, hot dogs, hamburgers, and desserts. A classic car show was scheduled for the day. A 1920 Ford Model T, the classic Ford Thunderbird, and a 1970 Road Runner (one of 1,920 made) were my personal favorites.
Most everybody in attendance was huddled up in line eager to get the chance to meet Erik in person and take home a signed autograph.
The afternoon was a hot one, so free water bottles were passed around by Erik’s pit crew while everyone waited to see their hometown hero. Families and kids enjoyed playing games of corn hole toss, there was a video racing game competition, a river-race, Matchbox toy car racing, and a tire-changing exhibit.
I Can Do That
As someone who’s changed a tire a few times, I thought I’d give it a try. There is actually a lot of pressure to complete the tire change as quickly as possible. My time was over 14 seconds for a single tire. The pros do all four tires in under 20 seconds. “You definitely need some practice” commented team member Ryan Staal.
Erik’s dog Oscar visited the Adopt a Pet area to hang with buddies looking for a good home. The band Shiatown served up their version of some hard-hitting modern
country music to entertain the crowd.
Prizes and Competitions
Fans received raffle tickets to enter in drawings for things like an Erik Jones replica race helmet, race-swag, even journals, and notebooks.
Erik awarded trophies to the Best in Show for the classic cars, river race winners, and video game winners. For someone who loves to go fast, Erik slowed down and spent the day with the loyal fans in his hometown. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to interact with him at such a personal level.
I had a great time, I’m actually jealous of Steve that he gets to cover NASCAR and events such as this on a regular basis. Look to The Lasco Press for continuing Cup Series race reports and all the local happenings in our area.