Tums Fast Relief 500 - October 30, 2011 - Martinsville Speedway

Make your own countdown timer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Whisky River Jacksonville - Grand Opening!

This is where it all began.  A simple sign posted with few people understanding what it really meant.  Until now! 

From This:

To This:

Most everyone in Jacksonville, Florida has been anxiously awaiting the grand opening of Whisky River at the St. John's Town Center.  The Whisky River chain is owned by NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and describes itself as a "unique blend of unpretentious charm, feel-good music and enticing food."  The menu includes all the bar-food favorites like two-wide burgers, chicken fingers, sweet potato fries and pizza.   They also claim to have some hot wings that are "seriously spicy."

I did not make the opening weekend events but read great comments on Facebook and other NASCAR blogs including comments from lots of local fans.  This is how one person described Jacksonville’s latest hotspot:  “Take two ounces of ROCK AND ROLL, an ounce of COUNTRY, add a splash of SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY, mix and serve.”

I became very curious, being the NASCAR fan that I am, and decided to visit Whisky River to see it for myself.  Knowing the crowds that new nightspots can draw in Jacksonville, I decided it would be best to start with lunch first.  Plus, what better way to see the race from Texas than on several different size plasma televisions. 

Here is my report card of expectations BEFORE lunch:

MENU: typical bar food
DÉCOR: lots plasma televisions, more like a sports bar with little or no style
STAFF: Hi ya’ll!
OVERALL:  Not very high expectations

Here is my report card AFTER lunch at Whisky River:

MENU: Enticing menu!  From Killer Wings to Pit Stop Pizza, lots of variety and great size proportions.  In fact, either come with a BIG appetite or bring someone to share the meal with you.

DÉCOR: I was right on part of my expectations.  There were lots of plasma televisions of all sizes! Fun cow printed bar stools and booths.  There is a great outdoor area for dining or just relaxing and watching the race on a Sunday afternoon.

ATMOSPHERE: It's a big place, 11,500 square feet, that's both club and restaurant. Three bars and lots of cowhide-print booths scattered along the front half. The back half has two more bars, a dance floor and a stage. It was very relaxing, at least at lunch time.  Come back later this week to read about the ‘after dark’ Whisky River experience.

STAFF: Friendly, no ya’lls were heard, and our beverage glass was never empty!

OVERALL: Absolutely wonderful!  I am geared up and ready to go back again!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention.  My husband made the observation that there were only female servers and bartenders. He knew that the waitresses were called Whisky Chicks.  He even noticed what they were wearing from their leather vests, blue jean shorts to their cowboy boots.

After eating our lunch, I watched the others around me and listened to the conversations at their tables, as well as with their waitresses. I heard nothing but positive comments about the food, atmosphere and service while we were there.  Others asked what was in the corner section of the restaurant that looked like a saddle.  Why it is an electric bull! One Whisky Chick tried to encourage her guest to get up and take a ride.  But no takers!  Maybe this Wednesday we will get to see the bull in action!

There is even a special souvenir section where you can purchase hats, t-shirts and even a Whisky River custom designed motorcycle or awesome guitar.

Pretty awesome experience and looking forward to Wednesday night when we get to see a live performance of Luke Bryan.  So come back and see more pictures and a special blog about the night life at Whisky River.

In the meantime, check out their website at www.thewhiskyriver.com/jacksonville/
There are lots of graphics, so it may take a minute to load, but it's worth the wait!

Until next time…..

Happy Racing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Checkered Flag for Jeff Gordon

Hi everyone! We're happy to have Racegirl back this week with another great blog post. This week, she's got a heart-warming story about Jeff Gordon.  Enjoy!

One of my favorite reality television programs is "Extreme Make Over: Home Edition". This show stands out to me because of the positive emotional impacts it has on the people the show deals with each week. And ask any of my family members, friends or co-workers—I can get a little emotional at times. So it’s no wonder I am drawn to a show that shares the emotions of the crew on the show, as well as the families they help.

This past Sunday, the show had a special guest ‘helper’—four time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon! I have always admired his driving abilities on the various Sprint Cup tracks, and after watching the television show, I saw a softer side of Jeff Gordon!
They built an amazing house for this special family. One of the bedrooms even had a custom painted front of a NASCAR stock car complete with a driver's seat and steering wheel. A flat screen television was installed in the car's front windshield area complete with the NASCAR video game. Above the car was the upper tier of a bunk bed.  How awesome is that?

Not only did Jeff Gordon help in building the family a remarkable new home, Jeff arranged for this family to extend their vacation at the Daytona International Raceway.  The family was given a very exclusive VIP tour that included ride-alongs for several of the family members. What a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Even Jeff Gordon was overcome with emotion as he watched the family tour their new home. He later admitted that he really wasn't prepared for the tidal wave of emotion that came with that sight.

Jeff Gordon is well known for being one of the NASCAR good guys. He has often found time in his busy schedule to lend his name and presence to worthy causes. This is especially true of the Jeff Gordon Foundation which places its focus on the medical needs of young children.

Jeff Gordon, a great NASCAR driver with a heart of gold, deserves a checkered flag for helping out this family in South Carolina. Now I understand more today why I love NASCAR. An exciting sport, great fans and great drivers! 

And speaking of great drivers, we have an exciting event coming up that we will be blogging about next week. The grand opening of Whisky River in Jacksonville, Florida takes place this weekend with a special party later in the week. We will be there ready to ‘ride the bull’ (well, maybe) and taking lots of photos to share with you. So don’t forget to come back next week!

Happy racing!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ground Breaking Ceremony Takes Place for VJCG Amphitheatre

About a month ago, we told you about the generous donation Dale Jr. made to Victory Junction to help build a new amphitheatre for the children to use for a variety of camp activities.  We’re happy to report that the ground breaking for the amphitheatre recently took place on March 27, 2010!  The amphitheatre is scheduled for completion in October 2010 and will be called the Dale Jr. Corral and Amphitheatre. Here are a couple pictures from the exciting event:

Victory Junction is a year-round camp for children between the ages of 6 and 16 who have chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.  Located in Randleman, NC, the camp was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam Petty who died tragically during a Nationwide Series practice session in 2000.  Adam had a passion for helping children and had always dreamed of a way to change their lives. Since opening its doors in 2004, the camp has welcomed over 11,000 children from 47 states and three countries.  Although it costs $2,500 to send a child to the camp, none of the families have to bear the burden of this cost because it is covered by donations from generous donors.

The Dale Jr. Foundation sponsored the ground breaking ceremony weekend, and invited families and children with disabilities to come for the weekend and “try out” the camp. Twenty-one campers and their families came to visit and attend the ceremony.  Forty-four members of the Dale Jr. Fan Club also won the opportunity to attend the event.

Dale Jr. along with members of the Petty and Earnhardt families were in attendance for the ground breaking ceremony. During the event, Dale Jr. spoke about how much the camp means to him and how excited he is about the new amphitheatre.  Then Petty also surprised Dale Jr. with the “Sheriff of his Corral” – a miniature horse dressed up in a Sheriff’s costume!  The children gave Dale Jr. a thank you gift as well – a baby goat that the camp had proudly named “Jr.”

We’re excited to see what the new amphitheatre will look like when it’s finished.  Keep checking back and we’ll post more pictures and updates as we get them!

For more information on Victory Junction, please visit: www.victoryjunction.org.

For more information on the Dale Jr. Foundation, please visit: www.thedalejrfoundation.org

Thursday, April 1, 2010

NASCAR Hall of Fame - Countdown to Opening Day

In less than two short months, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will make its grand opening in Charlotte!  The Hall of Fame is designed to be an interactive, entertainment attraction that honors the history and heritage of NASCAR.  From what I’ve read, it sounds like there will be lots to see and do!  Attractions will include NASCAR artifacts, interactive exhibits, a 275-person state-of-the-art theater and a Hall of Honor. There will also be a restaurant, retail outlet and a NASCAR Media Group operated broadcast studio.

Just as exciting as the opening of the Hall of Fame itself is the list of inaugural inductees into the Hall of Fame.  This year’s class includes Bill France, Sr.; Richard Petty; Bill France, Jr.; Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.  The inductees were chosen from a list of 25 nominees.

The induction process is very extensive.  The main criteria for nomination are NASCAR accomplishments and contributions to the sport. To be eligible, former drivers must have competed 10 years in NASCAR and be retired from racing for a minimum of 3 years.  Non-drivers must have worked for at least 10 years in the industry.  Once the nominating committee selects the list of candidates, the voting committee casts its votes.  The voting committee consists of the 20 members of the nominating committee, 14 media representatives, 1 representative each from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota, 3 retired drivers, 3 retired owners, 3 retired crew chiefs and 1 fan vote.

Opening day is set for May 11, 2010 and will be celebrated with a day packed full of events including a free concert featuring the country music trio Love and Theft.  The trio is currently preparing to tour with Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum. To celebrate the final 50 days before the opening, fans are invited to take part in a 50-day countdown on Twitter and watch www.NASCARHall.com for 50 days of news about the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Each morning, a trivia question will be posted on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Twitter page (@NASCARHall).  The first fan who posts the correct response will win a prize pack.  The NASCAR Hall of Fame team will also reveal one feature of the facility each day on their website: www.NASCARHall.com/50days

Check it out and get a sneak peek!