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NASCAR Race Rookie No More

Who’s your driver? That was the question I asked race fans the most this past weekend in Daytona. Although I could usually tell from the t-shirt, hat or satchel they carried, it was a fun way to spark conversation and you could tell that they were proud to be a fan of this driver or that driver.

Me? After this weekend, well I’m a Jeff Gordon fan. Although Jeff’s Daytona hopes were thwarted by a crash, the race still went on and so did the excitement. I found myself gasping for air as the cars “sliced” through the turns, looking as if they would almost topple one another on the steep bank. Thank God for gravity.

And I watched with bated breath for a crash. I didn’t want one to happen, but 43 cars, 200 times around a track – odds were it was going to happen. Even if I couldn’t see the track, I could hear the commentator’s voice get louder and more frantic. My heart raced and I all I could do was sit there and hope that no one was injured.

Thankfully no one was hurt and the race wound up being the best birthday present for a 20-year-old driver from Tennessee. He now surpasses Jeff Gordon as the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500.

Even though Jeff didn’t walk away with a win Sunday, the race was the on-track debut of AARP’s Drive To End Hunger .

Early in the weekend, Jeff and the Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced that the Speedway and Americrown, the catering and concessions subsidiary of parent company International Speedway Corporation, would deliver all extra food from the 500 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

On Monday, volunteers loaded more than seven tons of leftover food (which works to 4,425 meals for Floridians) items from Daytona International Speedway and delivered them to the food bank. The donation included breads, produce and other food items and will help feed thousands of Floridians who are struggling with hunger.

That’s a win in my book. Want to see the Drive to End Hunger team in action next year? Enter the sweeps HERE.

Here’s a photo of the volunteers packing up the food Monday:

And here’s a pic of me (on the right) and my buddies Elly and Jordan on the Midway.