Rain Dampens First Annual Region 8 NASCAR Family Day
By Jim Adams Local 1853

“Well it wasn’t what I expected!” Claimed a UAW Brother from Georgia, “But I huddled under a trash bag with some of my UAW Sisters and Brothers to keep dry and made some life-long friends.” “I rarely use four letter words to describe a situation,” claimed another Brother. “But I can think of one that fits, RAIN! We saw some great racing when we saw it and The Almighty provided some impressive fireworks during the lightning show. You can’t stop a storm when it comes, but I have to give a hand to our Region 8 Leadership; they planned a fantastic outing that brought Sisters and Brothers together from all over the Nation.” People came to the “Region 8 Day NASCAR Family Day” from every State in Region 8 and a few States that are not.

The Day began with an Open House at the Region 8 Office. Region 8 Director, Gary Casteel and Assistant Region 8 Director, Donnie Bevis, greeted each guest and treated them to a delicious lunch. Guests were presented a number of gifts provided by the Gary Casteel; T-Shirts, posters, pins and a plethora of other gifts. Outside the Region 8 Office, The UAW/GM Motor Sports Display thrilled participants with displays of engines and race cars. Visitors had their photos taken inside race cars looked at actual NASCAR cars and everything that goes into building a “Race Ready” NASCAR car. Signing autographs inside the display was Mike Kramer, SCCA National Champion. Mike brought along his UAW made Saturn Red Line Race Car built by the Members of Local 1853. Mike Kramer works for Saturn and has been a great friend to UAW Members and has supported many UAW sponsored events.

Leaving the Region 8 reception, Race Fans headed to Nashville Super Speedway a brief distance from the Region 8 Office. Shortly after the gates opened, a torrential downpour hit the area sending UAW Members running for cover. The Rain wiped out a scheduled Chris Cagle concert which is unfortunate because UAW Members had front stretch passes that would have allowed them to get up close and personal at the concert. The rain also took away a UAW Member’s Fan Walk privilege which allows a limited amount of race fans near pit access where they can meet and greet drivers and race teams. The rain stopped and NASCAR was able to start the Federated Auto Parts 300 at its scheduled time.

Pole Sitter Martin Truex Jr. led the race from the start. On lap 49 the National Weather Service announced that UAW Race fans were in for heavy weather with extreme rain, hail, high winds and severe lighting. On lap 94 NASCAR Officials Red Flagged the Race for fear that lightning would strike the metal grand-stands where fans were seated. The grand-stands were evacuated and racing was halted for the next three hours. UAW Members who stayed to the finish were treated to an exciting finale. Rookie Driver Kyle Busch grabbed the lead with 64 laps to go. Busch held on but with 4 laps left in the race he started to run out of gas. Busch headed for the pits after having passed the pit entrance resulting in a spin into the front stretch grass. Jason Leffler took advantage of Busch’s mishap and drove on to the win.

No, the “Region 8 NASCAR Family Day” didn’t go exactly as planed; but you have to applaud the people who planned it. On behalf of those who attended the “Region 8 NASCAR Family Day”, we thank Gary Casteel, Donny Bevis and everyone on the Region 8 Staff who provided hundreds of hours of work for the enjoyment of the UAW Members served by Region 8 and their families. Thank you; let’s hope it goes better next year!



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