The Day I Met Dale

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Sharon King at a meet and greet with the driver at Talladega Superspeedway.
Earlier this week NASCAR fan and Talladega, Ala., resident Sharon King talked with Skirts and Scuffs about her experience as an extra in the short film "The Legend of Hallowdega." In a drawing held on the set, King won a meet-and-greet with one of her favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The meet and greet took place last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, the day before the Amp Energy Juice 500 Sprint Cup race. Today King tells what it was like to meet Dale Jr. in a guest post for Skirts and Scuffs. We thank her for sharing the experience with our readers.

I have been waiting on this day for 10 years. That's how long I have been a Dale Jr. fan. OK, maybe I haven't been waiting for 10 years, but I most certainly have been waiting on this day for six weeks.

You see, six weeks ago, I participated in the filming of "The Legend of Hallowdega" that took place at Talladega Superspeedway. While I was there, I was given a raffle ticket and was told there would be a drawing later in the day for some awesome prizes. One of which was a meet and greet with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

At the end of the day, we all meet for the drawing. There is a child here who wants to meet his hero, Dale Earnhardt Jr., more than anything. Everyone is getting paid for being an extra in the film. Everyone, that is, except Dawson. Dawson is too young to have a proper work permit. He can't get paid for being here all day, and all he wants is to meet Dale. As a group, we decide not to have a drawing for that prize. Dawson wins it with the unanimous vote of the group. Dawson's dream will come true! We are so happy for him. None of us wanted to win that prize in the drawing and take it away from him.

As it turns out, the producers of the film and the Pepsi Co. Sports representatives tell us that by all of us agreeing to let Dawson have the meet and greet with Dale Earnhardt Jr., we have earned some good karma. They decide to give away another meet and greet. They pull a number out of the bag that held our raffle tickets. Nobody jumps up with excitement. Nobody has the winning ticket. They pull out another ticket, and guess who has the winning ticket? Me!

Dawson waits to meet Earnhardt Jr. at the meet and greet
The date is October 30, 2010. This is the day that I will meet the NASCAR driver who captured my heart 10 years ago when he raced onto the NASCAR scene. This is the day that I meet Dale Earnhardt Jr.! I've done a lot to prepare for this day. I went on the "I'm going to meet Dale Jr. diet" and lost 10 pounds. I bought myself some new jeans to celebrate. I get my hair cut, and I also buy new makeup. I want to look and feel pretty when I meet Dale!

For the past six weeks, I have been anxiously awaiting this day! I've spent many a night lying in bed thinking of what I would say or do when this moment arrives. I have had a hard time falling asleep for the past week. The excitement is too much to bear.

Oh. My. God! It hits me! During the filming of "The Legend of Hallowdega," the camera man zoomed in on my sister-in-law, Brandy, my friend Vannah, and me. He asked us to give Dale a message. Why, oh why, did I have to say "Hey Jr, will you be my baby daddy?" I think to myself, "I sure hope he hasn't seen that clip." I would just die if he asked me if I was the girl who said that! Besides, I already know that he doesn't like to be called "Jr." His name is "Dale." I think to myself, "I know what I'll do. I'll deny it." After all, it was a girl with long red hair that made that comment, and I have since had my hair cut much shorter. There's no way he'll know it was me! Whew!

The moment is almost here. I've been waiting in this hospitality tent for what seems like an eternity. It's past 1 p.m. Dale should be here by now. However, I've waited this long to meet him. A few more minutes will not kill me. Samantha, the girl who set up the meet and greet with Dale, is telling me that it is time to go to another tent, where the meet and greet will take place. My heart is starting to beat very fast. "It's almost time," I say to myself!

So now, I'm in this smaller tent. I listen as a man from MRN is talking to us about Dale. He asks us if there is anything we would like to know about Dale. Before I know it, I open my big mouth and blurt out, "Boxers or briefs?" Did I just say that out loud? I obviously did. the man from MRN is laughing as he says, "I've seen him, and the answer is 'briefs!'" At this moment, I am hoping and praying that Dale isn't standing behind the tent. If so, he would have heard me and my big mouth. I soon find out, much to my relief, that Dale wasn't standing behind the tent. He didn't hear me! I breathe a sigh of relief! Through a crack in the tent, I see a black Chevy truck pull up and I see Dale as he climbs out of the truck!

My mouth is starting to feel dry. I think I need a mint. the last thing I want is to meet Dale and not be able to speak, or better yet, have bad breath. Yes, I will have a mint! As I'm sucking on the mint, I keep telling myself to breath. You see, I was able to get close to Dale to get an autograph last year when he was in Talladega. I held my breath the whole time he was signing the hero card I handed him. I think to myself, "This will NOT happen again!" I will not forget to breathe this time!

Earnhardt Jr. pauses while speaking at the meet and greet.
Dale walks into the tent and takes his place in the center of the room. He is talking to us, but I'm so busy reminding myself to breathe, I hear about every other word that comes out of his mouth. I keep telling myself to breathe, as Dale talks about how much he likes Talladega. He also talks about bump drafting and running at 200 mph. Dale says it's important to work with your teammate at Talladega and says that if you dump a driver during the draft, he will get you back. Dale Jr. is talking talking talking, and I'm reminding myself to breathe, breathe, breathe! I do not want to pass out from lack of oxygen and miss my chance to meet this man! I firmly tell myself, "Breathe, Sharon, breathe!"

Now it is time for Dale to meet all of us. Dawson, my young friend, is first in line, followed by his parents. I'm fourth in line to meet Dale. I think to myself that I am so happy I'm fourth in line, because I know that Dale wouldn't be bored by the time he meets me. I'm feeling sorry for the 40th person in line. Surely, Dale will be bored with us all by the time the 40th person has a turn to meet him!

I watch as Dawson and his parents meet Dale and think to myself how awesome it is going to be. I notice that Dale is making eye contact with everyone! Wow! I'm amazed!

It is now 2:06 p.m., and it is my turn to meet Dale. "Breathe, Sharon. Breathe," I tell myself as I approach this man who is looking me in the eye. I approach Dale, and hand him a Simpson, Dale Jr. National Guard replica helmet to sign. I find the courage to tell him that the helmet will be donated to a charity auction with the proceeds going to help needy families. (I do not mention that "Baby daddy" comment that was made in the behind-the-scenes footage of "The Legend of Hallowdega." He does not know that it was me!) Dale responds to my comment by saying "Good Deal" as he puts his arm around me and gets ready to take a picture.

OH. MY. GOD!! Dale is touching me! Cameras are going off everywhere. I look at one camera and smile and turn to look at the other camera and smile. All the while, Dale has his arm around me. Then I realize that my arm is around Dale too. When did this happen? Who cares? At least I didn't forget to breathe! It hits me! Dale Jr. isn't only touching me, but I have my arm around him too! I touched Dale Jr.!!!!

I wish Dale good luck in the next day's race as he smiles at me and I walk away. Just as fast as it happened, my turn with Dale is over. My moment with him is gone. It is time for my husband to meet Dale. I never noticed because I'm still reminding myself to breathe. You see, Dale Jr. just touched me and I'm never washing this shirt again!!!!

This is the one when Dale Jr. was looking at King as she took the pic!
A few moments later, I have calmed down. I'm watching Dale as he meets his other guests. I get ready to take one last picture of him. Holy cow! Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? I am! I am seeing what I think I'm seeing! Dale is looking right at me, and he is smiling! The other guys that are standing next to him are oblivious to what's going on, but Dale Jr. is looking right at me and he is smiling. I quickly take a photo!

I watch as Dale meets with the rest of his guests, knowing that he has made every single one of them feel as special as he made me feel. After he has met everyone, he takes time to sign a box full of Diet Mountain Dew hats. I reflect on how genuine he has been with every one of us when it was our time to meet him. I think to myself, "This is why I'm a Dale Jr. fan. This is why I will always be a Dale Jr. fan." Dale signs one last cap, and he is gone. The moment is over.

I will remember this day for the rest of my life! I leave the hospitality area feeling that Dale knew just how much a moment with him has meant to each and every one of us. I think he enjoyed meeting us as well. He showed us all that is is a genuine person. He is just like us! He is one of us!

That, my friends, is why Dale Jr. is the most popular driver in NASCAR. That is why I have always loved and supported him. Why I will always love and support him! That, my friends, wasn't an ordinary meet and greet with just any NASCAR driver. That, my friends, was a meet and greet with Dale Earnhardt Jr.!


Photos used with permission from Sharon King.
The Day I Met Dale The Day I Met Dale Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Friday, November 05, 2010 Rating: 5