Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards, held in Charlotte, NC. The black-tie ceremony honors the top three national finishers in the series, as well as top state finishers, top track finishers, top crew chief, and top car owner. The event, held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, was attended by roughly 750 people and was broadcasted internationally in Spanish and English.
Upon entering the reception area you know it’s a celebration as you’re greeted by three open bars with drinks flowing. Drivers, pit crew members, and mechanics from all around the country brought their families out to celebrate a year’s worth of hard work.
After the reception, guests were escorted to the main ballroom where each table was outfitted with a salad and bottles of wine. The awards opened with a performance by Brad Arnold and Chet Roberts of 3 Doors Down and then each track and state champion was individually honored.
After that dinner was served, which included angus tenderloin and lump crab cakes, there was another performance by Brad Arnold and Chet Roberts. Once guests finished the majority of their dinner, the awards resumed.
Jay Beasley, of Las Vegas, Nevada, received the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award, which is given to an outstanding minority or female driver competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
The top three national finishers: Lee Pulliam, Deac McCaskill, and Keith Rocco, along with the top crew chief and owner were honored next. The the awards concluded after NASCAR executives thanked the sponsors and guests for attending.
The All-American series is grassroots racing at its finest and many of the drivers, mechanics, and pit crew members (who often hold other full time jobs) do this simply for the love of the sport. A resounding theme from everyone honored was how appreciative they are for the support of their family and friends.
It’s wonderful that NASCAR takes the time to honor these members of the racing community and their families. All in attendance had a wonderful time, including me.