Shortly after concluding the opening practice session for the DC Solar 200, a group of 16 NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers took part in a driver autograph session at the Corporate Village, located on the DC Solar Power Pavilion.
Pretty Driven: What’s your favorite part about meeting the fans?
Brendan Gaughan, No. 62: “Well this is what makes our sport unique in comparison to other settings in professional sports. It’s our accessibility to fans and their accessibility to us, so this is what makes us special. This started with Richard Petty, Lee Petty, you know the Earnhardts back in the day and what our sport has not forgotten is to try to make sure that we have the time for them.”
Pretty Driven: Do you connect with your fans?
Gaughan: “Absolutely, and that’s what makes NASCAR what it is. That’s why Phoenix is spending all this money to build a brand new garage area that gives fans better access to the drivers, to the crews, to the actual race vehicles. You don’t get that look at the locker room for the Phoenix Suns. You only get that here at Phoenix Raceway.”’
Pretty Driven: In what ways is the fan experience here at Phoenix Raceway unique from some of the other tracks?
Justin Allgaier, No. 7: “Well I think first of all, the weather here is just beautiful. Coming here in the spring means great weather for the fans. But on the other side of it too, the race track here does a great job of trying to make sure that the fans get included in events like these autograph sessions, and some of the other stuff that they have going on in the fan zone. It’s just a cool place to be a part of.”
Pretty Driven: How important is it that Phoenix Raceway provides this type of face-to-face interaction with the fans?
Brennan Poole, No. 48: “Well I know as a driver, for me, with the other athletes who I’m a fan of, I feel like I relate to them in a way. So it’s cool when fans can come out and you can kind of get a sincere personality and take a picture with you and you kind of have a moment to connect. That’s how us, as athletes, create new fans and it’s how some fans maybe find their new driver.”