I was updating some info in my database (you read my last blog, right?) and I started thinking about some of the cool things I’ve found out about the drivers.
I know that prior to becoming an announcer, drivers to me were the cars. I really had little idea about who they were, they were simply faceless warriors in brightly painted chariots and to some extent I feel the big leagues of racing are still like that for me, but not so at the Bullring. Today, let’s take a peek behind the curtain.
Mario Opipari, who incidentally has one of the coolest names for rolling off the tongue, rips around the Bullring in the white and green number 53 Charger car. He has been a fixture at the Bullring for a number of years, picking up a championship back in ’07, but did you also know he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1996? Maybe you did, because John Bisci wrote about it here http://www.lvms.com/bullring/media/news/576250.html but let’s see if you’ve been paying attention at the races, as I’ve shared most of this information at some point.
Erika Thigpen, driver of the 01e Bandolero, finished 4th in points during the 2010 season, but did you know that she is also a barrel racer? When I first heard this I thought it wasn’t possible because she was about as big as a tick. It’s true though, and you can find a link to some pics of her in action at ThigpenFamilyRacing.com.
Harold “Buckshot” Sherard is a pilot in the Bomber division, having grown up around racing in Gillette, WY, but did you also know he used to tour with David Copperfield? How in the world do you go from Gillette, WY (pop. 30,000 give or take) to touring the world with one of the greatest magicians ever? On the showbiz side of things, we’ve also had one of the soundmen from Ka racing with us, a Frank Sinatra impersonator, an Elvis impersonator and 3-time Legends Masters Champ Frank McCourt had hair like an 80’s rock star so we’ll throw him in here too. Yeah, I know. At least he had hair.
One of our racers is on the design team for the 2k Sports video games and one racer was on the original design team of the Honda Element. As a side note, he won’t tell me what they’re working on now because it’s a secret. I promised not to tell, but he still won’t share that information to the talkative guy with the microphone for some reason. Go figure.
There’s more, so much more, I could write here. In fact, I’ll be honest and tell you that I actually just came back and deleted a huge chunk of it. Why? Because I want you to come out and find out more for yourself. The next time there’s an autograph session, or after the race when you can head into the pits, walk up to your favorite driver and introduce yourself. Ask them some questions, let them know you’re a fan and the next time you’re sitting in the stands you’ll be cheering for the person behind the wheel, not just the number on the car.