Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NASCAR fan gets surprise from Daytona 500 winner

from Daytona Beach News Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A Daytona 500 champion left his mark on Karen Hurd's driveway before screeching away through a cloud of smoke on Tuesday.

Standing a few feet away from the burnout marks, Hurd called Matt Kenseth's exit from her Indigo Lakes neighborhood "a hoot."

"I had no idea that Matt was in town," said Hurd, 51, who greeted the champ at her front door with her husband, Bob. "It was great; I was so excited."

Hurd, an account ticket holder, was randomly selected by Daytona International Speedway staff to receive a "goody bag" and a special visit from Kenseth in a customer appreciation stunt that attracted a crowd of media to the Hurds' lawn about 10:30 a.m.

She was informed of the visit about a week ago but did not know who would be making the delivery, said Andrew Booth, a Speedway spokesman. In addition to receiving Speedway swag, Hurd got Weatherly Tower seats for the July 3rd Nationwide Series, Subway Jalapeno 250.

"It's just about thanking the fans and we thought it was a pretty unique experience to take a driver to somebody's doorstep," Booth said.

Kenseth arrived in Daytona Beach on Tuesday morning and drove to the Hurds' house in a silver Stage 3 ROUSH Mustang. It was his first time making a ticket delivery to a race fan, he said.

"I think the more time you get to spend with the fans, the better," he said.

Hurd, a race fan for 13 years, said Kenseth seemed smaller in person than she imagined he would be. She congratulated him on his big win in February and chatted with him for a few minutes about what it's like to race in a car that can reach 140 degrees.

It was the first of many events Kenseth was booked for during his visit on Tuesday, which included racing high-performance karts with media, meeting ticket sales staff and fans to help promote the Coke Zero 400 on July 4.

Robin Braig, Daytona International Speedway president, said Kenseth's appearances helps promote the race.

"This is just one way of getting the word out here and in this tough economy we need to sell tickets and there's nothing better than having our star come in to help," Braig said.

Excellent story, great promotion and refreshing to report on something exciting in Daytona!

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