TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP –NASCAR weekend is well underway in the Poconos with the Overton’s 400 set for this Sunday.
Tonight, hundreds turned out for the first ever “Fan Fest” at Pocono Raceway where people got up close and personal with some drivers.
“Are you guys ready to see some drivers up here?” yelled the MC.
“Yeah!” the crowd yelled back.
“I think that was a third of you, the people in the back, are you guys ready to some drivers up here?” the MC repeated.
“Yeah!” the crowd roared back louder.
The crowd here may have come for NASCAR but for a few hours at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR came to them.
This was Pocono Raceway`s first Fan Fest held just days before the Overton`s 400 race set for Sunday.
The fun and games included fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or just Junior to most here, and fellow NASCAR drivers Landon Cassill and Ryan Blaney.
“Why does Boyer call you Bullet,” Cassill asked Blaney on stage in front of the packed audience.
“Because my father`s nickname was the Buckeye Bullet,” answered Blaney.
“That`s right,” nodded Cassill.
And rounding it out was driver Martin Truex, Jr., all who joked around on stage just feet from their fans.
“The best thing ever,” said a fan from Honesdale.
“Oh it`s awesome,” agreed his mom.
One of those fans even brought a gift for Junior; an inflatable race car.
“Dale, we got your backup car,” joked Cassill, taking from the fan to bring it on stage.
And then Dale proved why the fans love him.
“I`m going to sign it and give it back to you if that`s alright man,” said Dale as the crowd cheered.
“Oh man that`s cool, that`s cool,” said Cassill.
“Dale like signed the car and gave it back, I thought that was super sweet of him,” said Shelby Kemp from Quakertown.
But the real highlight was a cooking competition between a team from Pennsylvania and one from Canada with Junior and Blaney assisting Canada.
“[One of the judges] said the Canadians cooked the best food,” said Junior with the Canadians in the crowd going crazy. “That`s what he just told me’ >
“Judges really liked Dale Jr. salad dressing,” said another judge.
And it appears dale`s a winner off the track too.
“Give it to the North,” announced the judge as the MC broke into singing “Oh Canada”.
“It was awesome,” said Ron McBeats, one of the teammates on the Canadian team.
“I was nervous,” said Bill McBeats, Ron’s teammate, and brother.
“There`s Dale Earnhardt fans and Ryan Blaney fans everywhere and we just got the chance to cook up a few vegetables, it was awesome,” said Ron.
“Seeing the drivers up close, lot of fun,” said Mark Kemp from Quakertown.
“It`s great, never think to get this close to them,” said Jackie Davidson from Honesdale. “You try but they seem so elusive at times that it’s hard to see them so this was really a lot of fun.”
Fan Fest was free to people with tickets for Sunday`s race.
For everyone else, it was $20 per vehicle.