BY DAN GUTTENPLAN
Mike Drews loves nothing more than being at the track in person and taking in the scenes.
He’s done that with three generations of NASCAR fans -- first with his father in the 1970s, then with his wife in the 80s and 90s, and now with his 24-year-old daughter.
As an original member of the Original NASCAR Members Club, Drews has experienced plenty of moments that have taken his breath away at the track. He returned for the Daytona 500 earlier this month at Daytona International Speedway.
“What I like is having the tours,” Drews said. “I moved down to Florida in 1979, and I’ve only missed two races at Daytona since. We’ve been to Speedweeks every year. I know it’s race season when I’m in Daytona in February going on an annual tour.”
Drew shared some memories from his ONMC membership in a recent interview.
“I followed it in the early 1970s when I lived in Rochester, N.Y. During Speedweeks, my dad would decide to pick up and drive down to Daytona. I liked Davey Allison, and he became a personal friend. I was in Victory Lane when Hendrick Motorsports went 1-2-3 with Jeff Gordon getting the win. I got to know Jeff and Ray Evernham very well.”
“I love going down to Daytona each year and getting to see the new cars. I was in the garage when they were testing Goodyear tires at Daytona and got to know Davey Allison and his crew. I became good friends with Larry McReynolds. It’s just the idea of getting in the garage during testing. Once a year, I take a tour when the new race season is here.”
“I used to go with my Dad. I’ve been married since 1986, so I went with my wife for a long time. Robert Yates hooked us up one year with garage passes. Dale Jarrett once invited my wife and I to Ford after he got sponsored. I started taking my daughter as a baby. I have pictures of me holding her in the garage. Dale Jr. saw her at a race once and brought her a set of ear plugs. I used to bring rum cakes for the drivers when I had a business. One year, Kenny Schroeder kept seeing my daughter give a thumbs up to drivers along the fence. He picked her up and brought her to the trailer to meet his crew chief, who had a daughter around the same age.”