This is part of a series of 12 Questions-style NASCAR fan profiles open to people who select that tier on my Patreon page.
Name: John Burns
Twitter name: @johndburns
1. How long have you been a NASCAR fan?
2. How many races have you attended?
3. Who is your No. 1 favorite driver?
Formerly Jeff Gordon; now Jimmie Johnson.
4. What made you a fan of Gordon?
This is a very interesting story. I’m originally from Jacksonville, and my dad received tickets to the July Daytona race from a friend. I was 20 at the time and I definitely had other priorities for my Saturdays other than going to a NASCAR race. Dad ended up bribing me to go, so I made the trek down to Daytona with him.
We got down to the track and started to go in, but we were immediately looked at funny because we were going through a “normal” entrance and we had Daytona Club tickets. Being new to this, both of us said, “What is the Daytona Club?” It turns out we had suite tickets with access to pre-race parties where food, drinks and live music were among the things we could partake in. I wish we would’ve known that prior to stopping off at the Krystal on International Speedway Blvd.!
We were sitting at a table with a few other NASCAR fans and my dad made a comment asking who was on the pole. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. But to that question, a guy quickly replied, “Shithead.” Dad and I both looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and then I asked back: “Who’s ‘Shithead?'” Turns out back in 2004, “Shithead” was better known as Jeff Gordon.
I absolutely fell in love with NASCAR while at the race. Gordon ended up winning, and so I naturally liked him — but mostly because the guy in the Daytona Club called him Shithead.
5. Who is your most disliked driver?
6. Why don’t you like him?
I want to like him. He and Samantha do a lot of good things for racing and the community. But gosh, there has just always been something about him when he raced at Hendrick that made me despise him, and I just can’t seem to get over it.
7. What is your favorite track?
Texas Motor Speedway.
8. What is one thing you would change if you were in charge of NASCAR?
Get the CEO of NASCAR to attend more races than I attend.
9. What is one thing you would keep the same if you were in charge of NASCAR?
Keep weekend races versus having races during the week.
10. How often do you yell at the TV during a race?
Depends how race is going, but it can be frequently.
11. Do you have any advice for other fans?
Make NASCAR races a weekend getaway. I am pretty fortunate to be able to travel around on the weekends and go to roughly 20 races a year. It is what I enjoy doing, and a lot of the reason why is being able to meet people from different parts of the country, have a drink with them and have a great time. I can talk NASCAR all day with someone, so being able to sit at a bar with other fans who enjoy NASCAR just as much — it doesn’t get much better than that.
12. What else do you want the NASCAR world to know about you?
Never did I think I would become a NASCAR fan, but I was immediately hooked after one race. I love traveling around to races, and I do most of these races by myself — so if anyone is going to a race and would like to have a couple drinks and/or tailgate, I would be open to it.
My real job during the week is the assistant controller of a logistics company headquartered in Atlanta.