Nate Ryan from NBC Sports and the NASCAR on NBC podcast joins me from the Long Beach Grand Prix to discuss both the IndyCar race in California and the NASCAR race in Virginia.
These 12 Questions-style fan profiles are one of the rewards offered as a tier on my Patreon page. You can catch up on the other profiles so far this season here.
Name: Emily Ellis
Location: Goochland, Va.
Twitter name: C1Triplee
1. How long have you been a NASCAR fan?
Since my teens. I’ve been coming to Richmond since I was in high school, back when the Sawyer family owned the track.
2. How many races have you attended?
More than 30. I’ve only missed one Richmond race since 1989.
3. Who is your No. 1 favorite driver?
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.
4. What made you a fan of those drivers?
I was a Dale Jarrett fan. Somewhere in this house is my Ford Credit coat. So I’m a Ford fan, and I like Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick — which has taken some warming up over the years. But of course I like Junior, and not just because of the connection to the other 88 driver I rooted for.
5. Who is your most disliked driver?
6. Why don’t you like him?
Dislike is a strong word, but he’s not one of my favorites. I will say he has kind of matured, but he was rather obnoxious in his younger years. I just really didn’t care for some of his off-track behavior for several years. But I think he has kind of mellowed with age, as we all do.
7. What is your favorite track?
Talledega. It’s one of my favorite ones to watch and is at the top of my bucket list to go to. The campground parties and parades — that must be such an experience! And after watching Darlington throwback, it’s quickly climbing on my list of tracks I want to go to.
8. What is one thing you would change if you were in charge of NASCAR?
There hasn’t been a lot of consistency. There’ve been a lot of rule changes, but it’s like they’re throwing a lot of glitter at things to try and make it look shiny. They need to go back to basics. NASCAR boomed and got so big, it just couldn’t exist in the place it was. Now it’s maybe finding its footing a little bit, but there’s just so much change — restart zones and green-white-checkers and all these things. Let’s just go race and have fun and not try to make such a spectacle of things. They don’t need all the razzle-dazzle. Let’s settle on something and get back to basics.
9. What is one thing you would keep the same if you were in charge of NASCAR?
The driver interaction with fans. That’s huge. Years ago, you’d just be walking around and here comes Benny Parsons. The down-to-earth drivers, that’s what the fans actually love — being able to connect with them.
10. How often do you yell at the TV during a race?
Ha! Are you watching me? Actually, I don’t think I yell as often as I used to since I became a parent. I let my thumbs do the yelling these days on social media more than my mouth.
11. Do you have any advice for other fans?
Social media has changed the game. Creating my own Twitter list is actually better than listening to the announcers. I add people who I find interesting and that’s the best thing. I’ve also made new friends that way.
12. What else do you want the NASCAR world to know about you?
I can’t really think of anything exciting to tell the world about me. I’m just a mom that likes NASCAR. I’m not that exciting.