Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nascar 2014 Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway

My dad and I usually attend a Nascar race every year.  We were offered to buy 2 tickets for the weekend's events from a friend back in November of last year.  I bought them on the spot.  My dad however, took sick over the winter and needed quadruple bypass surgery on his heart, rendering him unavailable for this trip.  So, I took my step-dad as he is a huge Ambrose fan and watches alot of Nascar too.  Once I offered him the ticket, he went on right away to buy pit passes.  The pit passes at MIS are good for the entire event.  Practices, qualifying and the races.  We were actually watching them from the pit wall during practices and qualifying.  MIS actually has a tent setup in the prime autograph seeking spot.  They actually embrace the fans that seek autographs!!!!  What a change!!!  We hovered around there after watching the first practice on Friday morning and managed to get a couple of autographs.

Carl Edwards came over to the fan line once a couple of girls started singing happy birthday to him.
Clint Bowyer strolled through as well.  I got him to sign this Burning Rubber insert card.  It contains a piece of race used tire from his win at NHMS in 2010, a race that I attended.
Aric Almirola came through the line.
Ricky Stenhouse came through as well.  Danica came through just after, but I got her in Charlotte last year, so I didn't try too hard to get her this time.
Once the practices were finished, the crews setup for qualifying.  We stood down in the pit area and setup to watch qualifying.  We were right in front of Marcos Ambrose's pit area and a crew member came over and started talking to Chuck.  He called us over to come meet Marcos.  Chuck is from Australia and has been following his career since his days in the V8 Super Cars.  He signed Chuck's Australian Sporting Flag and posed for a picture.  I didn't want to bug him at this point as he got right in his car to do his qualifying run right after we left.
I did get Casey Mears as he was sitting on the pit wall talking with people after he was finished qualifying.

While we were down there waiting for autographs, the track president came through and was chatting up the fans.  He ended up giving a few passes for the driver introduction and pre-race ceremony for the Cup race.  These passes are worth $75, but ended up being worth much more than that.  More on that later.  Follow @misroger .  He is a pretty cool guy to say the least and he is doing a fantastic job at MIS.

I got Micheal Waltrip on the way out of the track.

That was it for Friday, which was still pretty cool.

There were a couple of practice sessions on Saturday but the Camping World Truck Series race was the main event.  We didn't try too hard to get autographs this day.  We watched the race and then headed to the Kevin Harvick trailer.  I am a member of the Harvick Fan Club and he does appearances for a few members at most tracks.  I was lucky enough to draw in for this one.  I bought a car to get signed and had a card.  He posed for pictures which were put online for us to download, which is really great.  I wish more drivers did things like this.  He was great, joking and chatting with everyone that came through.

Marcos Ambrose had a signing at his trailer on Sunday morning.  You had to buy $20 worth of his stuff and you got a ticket for an autograph.  Chuck ended up getting a ticket for free because the guy in front of him turned it down after he bought a hat.  I bought a die cast car for $35 to get signed and also got a card signed.
From there we headed to pit road.  We ended up chatting with Marcos' crew for quite a while and they all signed Chuck's ticket.  They were so cool about chatting with us and talking about their setups and how they prepare and such.  You definitely could not do this with the bigger teams like Gordon's or Earnhardt's.
Next was our special pass for the pre-race ceremonies.  They setup a red carpet area and had fences around it so the fans could line up.  It was fast a furious at times as the drivers came out and signed for lots of people along the way.
There were a few people that I didn't have anything for, so I got them to sign my ticket.
I got Michael Annett, David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, and Alex Bowman.
I got Justin Allgaier to sign a card.
I got Joey Logano to sign a card.
Jeff Burton was driving in place of Tony Stewart.
Greg Biffle signed a card for me.
AJ Allmendinger signed a card for me.  He won at Watkins Glen the week before.
Reed Sorenson signed card.
And now for the holy grail of the weekend.  My dad is the biggest Jeff Gordon fan.  With Jeff on the pole and all of the fan access we had, I knew he would be having a good time if he was there.  So, I thought if there is any way I can bring him back an autograph, that he would be pretty happy.  Jeff is a mobbed star throughout any time we saw him from afar.  It was insane.  He would be encircled by fans every where he went.  I looked up and saw him coming down our line and he was actually signing.  I grabbed a photo I had quick and he signed it!!!  I couldn't believe it.  What a weekend!!!  After that, we went up to our seats.  I was already on cloud 9.  I am a big Tony Stewart fan, but if Tony or Kevin Harvick isn't going to win, I will cheer for Jeff Gordon.  It was a great race with Jeff taking the lead back for good with 16 laps to go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Habs vs Rangers Game 2 Eastern Conference Finals

I went to game 2 of the series between the Habs and Rangers.  Chris Krieder took out Carey Price in game 1 and someone should have knocked his block off.  Tokarski did a decent job in relief, but he is no Price.  Anyway, outside of the stadium, the Canadiens had a couple of alumni out there signing some autographs for fans.
Pierre Bouchard was a defenceman for the Habs from 1970 to 1978 and won 5 stanley cups.

Yvon Lambert was also out there.  He had some great seasons for the Habs during the 70s amassing 479 points in 683 NHL games.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Michael Hutchinson TTM Success

Mailed:  2/7/2014
Received:  6/26/2014
Days:  139
c/o: St. John's Ice Caps

This guy has been bounced around all over the place and puts up great numbers wherever he goes.  He was born in Barrie and played OHL for the Colts.  The Bruins drafted him in the 3rd round in 2008 and bounced him between the ECHL and AHL until 2013 when he signed a 2 way contract with the Winnipeg Jets.  Again, he was sent to the ECHL where he was pretty much unbeatable and forced the Jets to move him up to St. John's as soon as possible.  He only had 24 games there but won 17 of them and earned a call up to the Jets for his first NHL action.  3 full games including an overtime game and a .943 save percentage was all he did.  I hope to see this guy playing there full time next year.  I think I will try to pickup some more of his cards on ebay.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Jeff Petry TTM Success

Mailed:  12/12/2013
Received:  6/5/2014
Days:  175
c/o: Edmonton Oilers

Jeff played 3 years of NCAA at Michigan State before joining the Oilers farm affiliates for a year and a half.  Since then, he has been a full timer in their lineup.  He had 17 points in 80 games this past season.  The Oilers are a team that usually send out their mail requests after the season has ended.  I have received several Oilers requests back in the last few weeks.

Andrew Ference TTM Success

Mailed:  10/30/2013
Received:  6/5/2014
Days:  218
c/o: Edmonton Oilers

I pulled this jersey card back in 2002 so I decided to try to get it signed.  Ference was a member of the Boston Bruins team that won the cup in 2011.  I famously flipped off the fans in the Bell Centre and then said his glove stuck.  Good one.  Anyway, he is known for his environmentalist ideals and drives a Prius or bikes to the rink every day.  His autograph is pretty terrible actually as it looks like just an "A" and an "F".  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins TTM Success

Mailed:  1/22/2014
Received:  5/23/2014
Days:  121
c/o: Edmonton Oilers

Ryan had 56 points this past season for the Oilers.  I have to think that the Oilers are on the verge of getting into the playoffs.  They have a ton of young talent, and I think they just need to bring in some veterans to offset that a bit.  Yakupov has to go and they should trade their high pick this year too.  Nuge is going to be in Kingston in July, so hopefully I can get him to sign there again.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Corey Locke TTM Success

Mailed:  3/11/2014
Received:  5/16/2014
Days:  66
c/o: Abbotsford Heat

Corey has bounced around quite a bit over his career.  He has only played in 9 NHL games, but has played a ton in the AHL.  He finished off this past season with the Abbotsford Heat and had 23 points in 30 games for them and added 1 more in 4 playoff games.

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