Fan Spotlight - Yvonne Ward
We all have that moment when we decide to become a fan of a sport or athlete. For Yvonne Ward, that day was one of the worst days in NASCAR history – the day Dale Earnhardt died. Ward’s husband was already a NASCAR fan and was watching the race, and called her in to watch the race. Little did they know what was about to happen would change the sport and make her a fan. As she viewed the post-race videos and news, she started asking a lot of questions to begin her “NASCAR education,” and she has been hooked ever since.
With that connection to Earnhardt, it was only natural that she would become a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr., though she initially followed him because of everything she had learned about his dad. Ward says she likes what she’s learned about him through the good times and bad. And while she might enjoy watching other drivers, Dale Jr. will remain #1.
When Ward finally became a NASCAR fan, she and her husband were stationed in North Dakota with their children. After they retired from the Air Force, they moved back home to Kansas and Ward knew she had to come to Kansas Speedway. She immediately bought extra tickets from a friend that year and the following year, they became season ticket holders. Ward and her husband attend the races, but they are still working on convincing their 12-year-old granddaughter to attend! (Maybe if we find her a driver to root for we can get her here!)
Ward’s Dale Jr. autographed baseball cap is her favorite driver memorabilia and another fan helped her get it signed! (That’s one of the things we love about our fans – helping each other out.)
As a veteran fan and a past member of the Kansas Speedway Fan Council, Ward offered up some tips to new race fans.
- Come early and take the time to walk around the pit area – as long as you have the right pass.
- Watch inspection! (She thinks it’s important for fans to see what’s going on behind the scenes and not just on the track. We completely agree!)
- Rent or buy a scanner and the gear. Being able to listen to the drivers and their pit crews makes the race more enjoyable.
And of course, one of the most important parts of the weekend – what do you bring to the track! For Ward, her favorite drink is hot spiced win at the race. She prefers the warm drink since it’s typically windy on race day at the track! And our favorite – she pairs it with a PB&J sandwich.
We’re loving learning about how our fans became race fans! Plus, you’re giving us some ideas for our next tailgate. If you’re interested in being one of the fans we spotlight on our website, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Fan Spotlight. Who knows, maybe you will be our next featured fan.