NASCAR at The White House
June 14, 2018
I suppose Facebook can be good for something.... even though my parents
say it's good for nothing. My mom belongs to a group where an
opportunity went out to looking for a kid interested in being a Kid Scoop Media reporter for the day covering an event with President Trump and NASCAR Champion Martin Truex Jr. at the White House.
My mom showed me the article and said it probably wasn't going
to happen because it was all the way in Washington DC., and we live
outside of Sacramento, CA. Little did I know, my parents were trying
to figure out whether this was something we could take
advantage of. Apparently, that evening, my mom sent off our
information to Kids Scoop Media so that they could meet the deadline.
to submit for security clearance.
On Thursday, my mom told me, after school that I had between accepted
was approved and that we would be leaving for DC on Friday at noon...I
freaked out! I was excited because I'm a HUGE NASCAR fan (like super
huge) and the possibility of meeting and interviewing President Trump
and/or Martin Truex Jr. would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. In
fact, for my 5th grade wax museum project, I had to be a "famous
American" and chose to be Bill France, Sr., the original founder of
Mom and I flew from Sacramento, CA to Washington DC on Friday
afternoon arriving after midnight on Saturday. Even though we didn't't
have our security clearance yet, mom and I went hoping we would be
cleared and accepted. We enjoyed seeing the International Spy Museum,
The Ford's Theatre and taking a "Monuments by Moonlight" tour where we
saw the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial and the Washington Monument.
It was a long day, but worth every moment. Sunday morning came and we
woke up to tour Arlington National Cemetery where we saw a wreath
ceremony and changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldiers. We then went to the National Museum of American History
where I loved reading and looking at all of the WWII memorabilia.
After a long two days of sightseeing, we received notification from
Kids Scoop Media that our confirmation from the White House had come
and my jaw hit the floor!
We met our Kids Scoop Media rep at noon across
the street from the White House. One thing I learned is that security
is pretty tight...but, once we got through it, we were fine. We got
out onto The South Lawn and it was really hot, but there was a slight
breeze. I saw President Trump, Martin Truex Jr., and his girlfriend,
Sherry Pollex come out from the Oval Office, around the Rose Garden
and then the White House Band began to play, "Hail to the Chief."
President Trump recognized Martin and his racing team for winning the
2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup. President Trump also mentioned about
what a tremendous fan he is of NASCAR. He commented that at NASCAR
Races, "They stand for the National Anthem." The assembled crowd
cheered when President Trump said that. On display was the NASCAR
trophy, The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup. Martin's car, #78, was also on
the South Lawn. In attendance alongside the Furniture Row Racing
Team was Brian France, current CEO and Chairman of NASCAR!
At the conclusion of the South Lawn ceremony, I thought that was it.
We walked back to the White House briefing room to have a snack and
take a break. When suddenly, I heard of the speaker, "Press,
head to stake out area for questions for Martin Truex, Jr." I quickly
grabbed my pad and pen and followed the other reporters out to the
"stake out area" which was a microphone and camera set up outside the
West Wing. I took up position in front, near the cameras, taking full
advantage of my "kid size" to get a good spot. Martin Truex, Jr.
stepped out of the West Wing door, walked up to the microphones and
began to make a statement. I was ready to jump in with a question and
I did! I asked him "What do you think the sport can do to appeal more
to kids?" Martin told me it was a great question! He gave a lengthy
response that focused on kids and their families coming out to the
track more as well as the importance of local short tracks for getting
kids involved in the sport directly.
Alongside all these professional reporters, I had to jump in to ask
questions. It was nerve-wracking, but I was thrilled to be able to ask
the final question. I asked, "When you don't get to complete a race
because of a crash or failure, how do you handle the disappointment?"
Martin answered that you must realize some things are out of
your control, like a popped tire or someone else messing you up. You
just must get back up and look forward to the next race.
As I look back on my day at The White House. I can truly say it was
beyond any of my wildest expectations. I learned being part of the
press is hard work filled with a lot of waiting, great people, great
stories and amazing, once in a life-time experiences. Thanks to Kids
Scoop Media, I had a great time and (the best part for me is) I got
Martin Truex's autograph!