Friday, July 19, 2013

ESPN’s Ryan McGee gives advice for race fans seeking signatures

A fan with Greg Biffle before the race at KentuckyFor dedicated and loyal NASCAR fans, getting an autograph and access to the sport’s biggest stars is one of the coolest parts of the sport. On race days the stands at racetracks are jam packed with fans. The smart race fans looking for signatures know where to go to snag a John Hancock from their favorite driver.Sometimes it works. But are race days the best days to try to get access to drivers?“What I tell people all the time is, race day is great, but sometimes Saturday is better and sometimes Friday is better,” ESPN’s Ryan McGee told me last week. “Because if you can get a garage or pit pass on Friday or Saturday when it’s not as crowded, that’s when you get to see stuff.”Crews tinkering with their cars and drivers getting out to chat with their crew chiefs are just some of the things fans can see when at the racetrack during a race weekend. If they can score a pit pass, especially a coveted “Hot” pass—allowing them access to the garage area when cars are running on the track—they can get up close and personal with the stars and cars you see every week on TV.He gets to travel the country and go to NASCAR races as a member of the traveling media corps covering the sport weekly. And for McGee, it’s a job will never get old.“It’s an interesting world because it’s really the only sport other than maybe gold or tennis where it’s the same group of competitors and the same group of media members—for the most part—that kind of pack up and move on and travel to the next place,” he said.He has that kind of inside access. McGee stands and watches practice from the infield. He gets to talk to drivers and crews every week he goes to a race. And his advice is simple: watch the race from the stands on Sunday, but get a garage pass for the early part of the weekend to see the action behind the scenes.Fans clamor for an autograph from Danica Patrick“I’d rather watch a race from the grandstand but I’d rather spend practice, Happy Hour, qualifying all that stuff, I’d rather be in the garage or in the infield on Friday and Saturday,” McGee said. “To me, that’s where, if you want to meet a driver, or you’re going to get pictures or you want to see the teams work to me those are the two best days. “I tell fans that all the time.”McGee is quite accessible via his Twitter handle @ESPNMcGee, where he gives opinions and news in the world of NASCAR and college sports. He just started a podcast with fellow ESPN NASCAR TV reporter Marty Smith called, aptly, “Marty and McGee.”But his best advice was simple. For access, go when the crowds aren’t that big.“Sometimes Friday and Saturday is a better experience if you really want to see how everything works rather than being in the infield on Sundays,” he said.So take heed NASCAR fans. McGee knows quite a bit about the sport, and his advice is pretty simple. If you’re seeking a photo with a driver or a simple autograph be willing to hang out at the track during the beginning of the weekend, and then give yourself race day to enjoy from the stands.-------------------------------------------------------------------My interview with McGee covered quite a bit and as I continue to preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stop in Indy stay tuned for more comments and quotes from the NASCAR reporter, who shares more with me than just a passion for racing.

ESPN’s Ryan McGee gives advice for race fans seeking signatures Images

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