Whether we are perched in the grandstands or parked on the couch, we NASCAR fans spend a lot of time on the outside looking in. It is a familiar place that week in, week out feels like "home."
But, have you ever wondered what it would be like to step beyond the protective barrier that separates the fans from the fearless drivers?
What if one day you were telling stories and the next day you were actually living them?
Through hard work and perseverance two of our esteemed Bleacher Report writers have the elite opportunity to report behind the pit walls of their home tracks.
Even though you might not be able to make it to the race, through their experiences you will most definitely be at the track.
David Yeazell, a seasoned race fan and published photographer was recently bestowed the honor of being chosen the official photographer of Darlington's Southern 500 for the second year in a row.
This year David will have an all access media pass for the week leading up to and including the May 9 race, from the moment the first hauler hits the infield, straight through to Victory Lane. He will provide Bleacher Report with a unique photographic virtual feed and play-by-play account of all things trackside.
No stranger to the track, David has spent the last 15 years photographing NASCAR’s inner sanctum; including Cup Series races in Bristol, Daytona, and Charlotte.
His well-rounded sense of humor will provide B/R with perfected color commentary from the media tents.
Our NASCAR community leader, Mary Jo Buchanan, has also acquired all access media credentials for the June 7 Pocono Race. She will be reporting on both the ARCA & Cup series, attending practices, qualifying and of course, the races, Thursday-Sunday from everywhere you'll want to be.
Despite the race being six weeks away, MJ has taken a proactive stance and is already setting up interviews with drivers and teams.
Just this week she visited Pocono for a meeting with Dr. Rose Mattioli, the co-owner of the track.
After her exclusive one-on-one, MJ was invited to get up close and personal with the track by strapping herself into a real stock car for a few “hot laps” around the raceway.
While David promises a lighthearted take on things, Mary Jo plans to focus more on the human side of the sport, looking for stories not just about performance on the track, but the behind the scenes stories as well.
"I like to figure out how drivers and teams tick," said Mary Jo. "I'm particularly interested in females involved in the sport and hope to focus on that angle. I'm also intrigued with some of the ARCA drivers and teams, as so many Cup drivers cut their teeth in that arena.
"I hope to share some fan experiences and some insight into just what it takes when a show likes NASCAR comes to the sleepy town of Long Pond, Pa."
While collaborating with David and Mary Jo for the content of this article, I too was credentialed with full access for my home track. While I'm not one to "toot my own horn," Mary Jo respectively turned the tables and made me "promise" to include myself in this discourse.
I am pleased to announce that next weekend I will be reporting from within the Richmond International Speedway.
I’ll be vying for “Rookie of the Year” as this will be my first trip to RIR as a member of the press.
I’m going in with eyes wide open to anything and everything. You’ll get a first-hand look as I step out of the comfort zone of the grandstands that I know so well and maneuver my way through uncharted territory.
Many thanks to Mary Jo and David for quickly getting me up to speed on the inside “code of conduct.”
With writers embedded behind the scenes, the next couple of months prove to be an exciting time for Bleacher Report.
UPDATE 04/29: I am pleased to report that David Yeazell has been asked to cover both the Sprint All-Star race on May 16 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Congratulations to you David!
For more information about the writers featured in this article, please visit their individual profiles at http://bleacherreport.com/users/35244-Mary-Jo-Buchanan, http://bleacherreport.com/users/41043-David-Yeazell, andhttp://bleacherreport.com/users/51513-Kara-Martin.