During the IndyCar event at the Chicagoland Speedway in August 2009, Janet befriended a lady in the Media Center. Come to find out, that lady was Jeanetta Holder, "The Quilt Lady." Jeanetta has been presenting the winner of the Indianapolis 500 a handmade quilt since 1976, with Johnny Rutherford as the winner. She has been attending the Indianapolis 500 since 1950. Not only has she presented the Indy 500 winner a quilt, but others as well, (such as Brickyard 400 winners Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt). Making racing quilts is not her only connection to racing. As a young woman, Jeanetta also was an amateur racecar driver. She was one of the first lady racers at the Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky. She has always had a penchant for racing. Even as a little girl, she would make her own homemade racecar toys and race them! At 82, she still is as active as ever -- loading up her scooter, jumping in her minivan, and driving anywhere she wants to go.
At the conclusion of the 2009 IndyCar race, Jeanetta asked me to take a photo of the Chicagoland Speedway logo that was on the wall behind the Media Center desk. At that time, I did not know why she wanted that particular image.
Many months later, we learned that Jeanetta created a quilt for Chicagoland Speedway in honor of its 10th season. The speedway's official 10-year anniversary would be celebrated the following year. Jeanetta presented the quilt to then track president Craig Rust during the 2010 IndyCar pre-race ceremonies. This was the first quilt created for an individual track.
In 2012, Jeanetta started asking Janet and I to come down to the Indianapolis 500. Due to family commitments, we were not able to make that happen...until now. Jeanetta was gracious enough to invite us to stay with her throughout the weekend of the Indianapolis 500. Upon our arrival, Jeanetta was working on the winner's quilt.
In addition to this year's winner's quilt, Jeanetta created a quilt for Jim Nabors, who was ending his career of singing "Back Home Again in Indiana." The Speedway arranged for Jeanetta to have a private meeting and presentation with Jim. Upon seeing her, Jim stated, "There she is!" When he learned of her upcoming birthday, Jim led the group in singing Happy Birthday to her. As we exited the event, we were met by Miss Hurst herself, Linda Vaughn!
Prior to the race, Jeannetta prepared the quilt, minus the winner's autograph. At the conclusion of the race, she presented the quilt to the winner in Victory Circle (this year accompanied by Janet), obtained the winner's autograph and then brought the quilt home to attach the autograph.
This year, after exiting Victory Lane, Jeanetta was met by Beccy Hunter-Reay, wife of race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. She wanted to personally thank Jeanetta for the beautiful quilt.
Later that day, Jeanetta went about the task of affixing the winner's autograph (Ryan Hunter-Reay) to the quilt.
On Monday morning after the 500, the Speedway hosted the winner's photoshoot. The car was pulled onto the racetrack under the starter's stand and the driver posed with family, friends, teammates and sponsors. It is here that Jeanetta made the final presentation of the quilt.
This was a memorable weekend that Janet and I will never forget! First, I want to thank Jeanetta for inviting us into her world. She is a special lady, and we love her! Second, I want to thank Tim Sullivan, the Hulman-George family, and all the folks involved with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for allowing us access to be able to tell this story. And finally, thank you to the Henry Ford Museum for background information.
To see more information about Jeanetta and her quilt's induction to the Henry Ford Museum Hall of Fame please click here.
On Saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m., Chicagoland Speedway hosted the third annual Easter Egg Dash Presented by Julie. The weather started out a little cool, but quickly warmed. We had an excellent turnout. We didn't have the total before I had to leave for the Rockford Speedway. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event. The kids had a blast writing their messages and leaving the artwork in Gatorade Victory Lane by the use of chalk. We had a blast photographing the event. The photos can be viewed by clicking here to the Chicagoland Speedway webpage and clicking on the link to the photos. Below is the crew who manned the event.
This year Janet and I will be attending the Indy 500. Janet has been invited to assist our friend "The Quilt Lady" Jeanetta Holder in her presentation of the winner's quilt. Jeanetta has been presenting the winner a handmade quilt for over 40 years. She told me the actual number the other day, but for the life of me I can't remember the actual number of years. She presented a quilt to the Chicagoland Speedway for their 10th race season in 2010. The photo was taken in the Media Center with then Track President Craig Rust. Several of her quilts are in museums. The 500 winner presentation occurs the day after the 500. We have tickets for the race, but now I have to find a way to obtain credentials so I can hook up with Rick Lane and rest of the Third Turn Society! It will be fun to see the Indy cars run again. It has been three years, Milwaukee 2011, since we have been to an IndyCar race. The only time I have been to the Indianapolis 500 was in 1994, when Al Unser Jr. won utilizing the Mercedes-Benz engine that was soon after banned from competition. It seems Roger Penske's group found a loophole in the rules and just blew everybody away that year. The engine had a totally different sound than any other engine out there. It was like a whisper! Like many IndyCar fans in the Chicago area, I would dearly like to see them return to Chicagoland Speedway. We, arguably, had some of the best races on the circuit. Below are a few images from the races at Chicagoland.
As previously reported, Janet and I were scheduled to represent the Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway at the World of Wheels show in Rosemont on Friday, 2/28/14. We ended up working not only Friday, but Saturday also. We had a great time interacting with all the fans and hopefully we recruited some new ones. Janet primarily worked the Kids Club booth while I worked the Team Demo corner. Right across from where I was standing, I noticed a white Chevy II SS. I thought the car looked familiar. Then I saw the name on the passenger door window, Hollis Jones and I realized that I had photographed Hollis' crash back in 2012. I later talked to Hollis and he stated that it took 14 months to complete all the repairs! Please click here to see all our images from the World of Wheels.
And the car now!
On the NASCAR front, they were at the Phoenix International Raceway. Because we were working, I was not able to watch the new qualifying format. With certain codicils, it received positive reviews. The teams want the ability to cool down the engines on pit road to allow them to run tape on the grills allowing for faster qualifying speeds. From what was reported the teams would remove the tape and then drive slowly around the track to cool the engine. Then, they would re-tape the grill and try to run a fast lap. I have no insight as to what NASCAR's response will be. The most obvious move is not to tape the grill and run it in race mode. However, I'm sure NASCAR will be doing some tweaking of the rules. In the delayed, rain shortened NASCAR Nationwide race, it was another Kyle Busch dominating race. There was an immediate uproar and call to reduce the participation of the Cup drivers/teams in the Nationwide Series. I think I heard the best response and that was that we don't need to stop the Cup drivers from participating, only ban Kyle Busch! This is a very sticky situation in that NASCAR, traditionally, has taken the stance if you can construct a car, show up and qualify, you can race. Back a few years ago, there wasn't much hue and cry when Mark Martin in the #60 Winn-Dixie car showed up and consistently won. Who's record for most wins in the Nationwide (Busch) Series did Kyle Busch break? Mark Martin's!! Everyone should remember that this is professional stock car racing which equates to entertainment dollars. Racetracks want to put people in the grandstand, not only for the ticket dollar, but also for the concession dollars. Who is going to draw more spectators, an unknown, underfunded team or a Cup driver? The flipside is what do you do when a dominating driver such as Kyle Busch enters a bunch of races and normally wins? NASCAR is in a very difficult position because we have fans who have voiced their displeasure and the racetracks who want as many Cup drivers in the race for the draw (which by the way also involves track sponsorship dollars). It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does.
On the Cup side, Kevin Harvick had a dominating race car. PIR is one of Kevin's favorite tracks and he has won there more than any track he has won at. The back story that I was looking at, was not the dominating win, but were the cars stable, could they run side-by-side and pass. Knowing that this was only a one mile track and the full effect of the new aerodynamic changes won't be fully realized until they hit this week's high-banked Las Vegas Motor Speedway, I was encouraged by what I saw. The drivers were willing to stick there nose in there in the corners. That equates to the cars being stable. Of course, I realize that there were some loose and tight racecars, but I'm talking about those that have a handle on the new package and make the cars work. I'm very anxious to see next week's Las Vegas racing.
Due to the fact that we had to work at the World of Wheels show, I was unable to attend this past weekend's GLX Snocross event, The Dan Jacksons - Amsoil Raceday. I am looking forward to the last race of GLX' season Saturday with the JBT Enterprises - Championships. The Awards Banquet will be the following day. The following weekend will be the National Event in Lake Geneva, Wi. Due to the restrictions of covering the event, I probably will not be attending. So, this weekend will be my last snocross event until next year. Its been a good season that I have enjoyed immensely. I met some really good people and this has helped in my recovery from knee surgery. I am already looking forward to next season. Fortunately, we will be racing cars very soon.
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This was a fantastic weekend for racing. The Nascar season opened on Friday night with Kyle Busch taking the Camping World Truck Series win followed by Regan Smith winning the Nationwide race on Saturday. On Sunday, the Sprint Cup race started under ominous skies and after 38 laps had to be stopped for rain. Over six hours later, they re-started the race and unless you are living under a rock, you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. took his second win the Great American Race. The funny part was during the rain delay, they replayed last year's race and some folks thought it was live and Jimmie Johnson won! One of the Fox affiliates was even fooled and announced the win. Before the restart Jimmie was having fun with that one. Next up is Phoenix.
Out in Arizona, the NHRA was running their National event at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with Antron Brown winning Top Fuel, Alexis Dejoria winning Funny Car and Allen Johnson, Pro Stock winner. It was Alexis' first Funny Car career win. For those who don't follow drag racing regularly the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is the old Firebird International Raceway. After the old owner bowed out of renewing his lease with the Gila River Indian Community, NHRA successfully negotiated to keep the track on the circuit with the new name. In three weeks, they will be in Gainesville, Fl., for the Gatornationals.
On a sadder note, at the Amsoil Snocross Championship National event in Mt. Pleasant, Mi., GLX rider Tyler Adams had a bad crash and was severely injured. Tyler remains in the hospital in Mt. Pleasant in the ICU. The last reports I had was that he will recover, but his season is over. Our prayers and best wishes go out to Tyler, his family and friends. Tyler won the last Pro Lite 1 event at GLX Snocross at the Golf Farm in Wauconda.
Closer to home on Saturday, I attended the Race and Performance Expo at the Pheasant Run Mega Center in St. Charles. I hooked up with some friends and had an outstanding time.
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It's an exciting day with the Sprint Cup Cars scheduled to start Pre-Season Thunder Testing. Unfortunately, it is raining in Daytona this morning. I'm still hoping to see cars on the track today.
Janet and I have been going over the race schedules from the tracks where we shoot. This year, I have been invited to add Grundy County Speedway to my schedule. My goal is to shoot the open wheel cars this year. I want to thank Phil Rider for his help in spearheading this effort.
My friend, Randy Simpson, has left his position with the Route 66 Raceway and has become the General Manager of the Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis (formerly IRP). Before he left, he invited Janet and I to come down for the US Nationals. They also have brought the ARCA Series back to the oval track. It looks to be an exciting year for Randy and Lucas Oil Raceway.
Speaking of Route 66, it looks like they have 34 events scheduled plus five Team Demolition Derbies. Add to that, the NASCAR weekends, it looks like our season is going to be very busy. It kicks off on April 5th at the Rockford Speedway with the Stone and Double T 200. On April 13th at the Rockford Speedway, the 37th annual Spring Classic will kick off. That is one of my favorite races of the season and we will see if Alex Papini can repeat. Overall, it looks to be the start of a great season.
To view the action from last season, click here. Check back often for schedule updates and new photo albums.
This is the first chance I've (Terry) had to get back to the blog since a week ago Wednesday. Since I last wrote, we were heading into our official setup day (Thursday). Little did we know of the NASCAR drama to unfold over the next few days. I won't go into the details (they can be found on any NASCAR racing website). But needless to say, it was unprecedented. On Thursday before I started work, I was able to wander around and take a few shots. Later in the day, I was temporarily reassigned to photography duty for 'NASCAR's Next' (a group of 13 young, up-and-coming drivers). They visited Joliet Fire Station 3, which is adjacent to the Speedway. This fire station received permission from Richard Childress Racing to use the stylized number 3 on their station along with displays of the Dale Earnhardt/Richard Childress race car. Richard also sent memorabilia to the station that will be displayed in a museum setting within the station. The drivers got to don fire apparel and use the fire hoses. While I was covering 'NASCAR's Next', Janet shot the TV show 'Sports Talk Live With Dave Kaplan'. Along with Track President Scott Paddock, the guests were Kenny Wallace, James Buescher and Ryan Newman.
Click here for Thursday's pictures.
Friday was an extremely busy day that did not allow for photography. Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Saturday, we were able to photograph some of the pre-race activities, primarily the skydivers delivering the United States Flag. Again, Kyle Busch dominated the Nationwide race by leading 195 out of 200 laps!
Click here for Saturday's pictures.
Sunday opened with threatening skies. The start was delayed due to a wet track. The race started but was halted after 109 laps. The red flag was displayed for 5 hours 10 minutes and 21 seconds, but who was counting. The day race became a night race. At the finish, it was Matt Kenseth winning with Kyle Busch finishing second. Very close to the trifecta! I was able to get out during one race segment to grab some shots. It was an excellent start to the Chase.
Click here for Sunday's pictures.
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We arrived at the Speedway around 2:15 p.m. with the motorhome. After a quick setup, it was off to the Media Center to assess the work to be completed tomorrow. Terry completed some preliminary work and then decided to take a stroll around the infield to photograph some of the behind-the-scenes setup activities. The night before all the fans and teams arrive is incredibly peaceful. Its not often you can call a Super Speedway peaceful
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As if hosting the first Race in the Chase wasn't eventful enough, add all the controversy surrounding Richmond! It no doubt will be a busy week at Chicagoland Speedway. All the "Chasers" will probably make their way into the Media Center, along with any other announcements. As race fans know, Clint has already spoken with the media (ESPN). But I'm sure all the media are eager to talk to him further. The Media Center will be abuzz with activity.
We have the motorhome almost ready to go. We'll even be at the track on Monday morning (5:30a.m.). Mike Bagley will be broadcasting SiriusXM's "The Morning Drive" show from the Media Center. I hope everyone can make it out to the races!!
We have just updated the Team Demolition Derby collection. We added Rounds 2 and 4. We also updated Round 3. Further updates may have to wait, as we start final preparations for the upcoming NASCAR's Race for the Chase.
While watching the racing from Richmond, Janet was organizing all our track boxes, which contain all our supplies for the week. We leave Wednesday morning for Chicagoland. Before we leave I have to download all NASCAR's media information and organize it for our desk. If you have never worked or been in a media center during a major NASCAR event, its something like an air traffic control center, organized chaos! Janet and I will not get a break from the start Friday morning until the start of the Nationwide race on Saturday. The action will be non-stop!
There are so many activities for the fans. Since 2001, I don't believe I have ever seen so many fan events planned. We have the Brantley Gilbert concert, Geico 400 National Anthem singer Dannielle Bradbery, Dollar General 300 powered by Coca Cola National Anthem singer Jim Cornelison, skydivers, fly-over, The FanZone, Champions Park, KidsClub, Track Walk, the souvenir midway area, etc. I hope everyone comes early and stays late. For those camping on the Speedway grounds, there will be a reserved fan viewing area outside Gate 5 (north side of the track) for the NASCAR Hauler Parade as it arrives at the Speedway, which should happen around 6:00 pm on Thursday. Here's to a great weekend event. We will provide updates throughout the weekend and may even be able to post a few images.