BY DAN GUTTENPLAN
Mike Murphy is one of the founding members of the Original NASCAR Members Club. While living in Lakeville, Ill., Murphy helped promote the sport in various capacities, including as a chapter president and longtime ONMC regional director. Shortly after attending the Daytona 500, Murphy recently joined ROAR to discuss his experience in the ONMC.
“I’ve been a big NASCAR fan since about 1985. I’m a car guy, and I started watching bits and pieces and became extremely interested in it. I’m not only a NASCAR fan, I’m into classic or vintage cars. I’m the original owner of a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. My enthusiasm for NASCAR was that they were basically racing stock cars. That stirred my interest in it.”
“I’m usually not a club joiner. It was intriguing when I saw what the club was doing. I liked that people could go in the garage area and meet-and-greets with drivers, opportunities ordinary fans don’t have access to without an association with the media, a race team or sponsor. They were enabling race fans to have access to see it all in person live.”
“There’s many. One example is from 2019, I was near Chicagoland Speedway. One of the most memorable memories I’ve had was through a weekend racing package. I invited a lady friend of mine because I was able to bring one guest. We had a hot pass, which permitted access to the garage area, the drivers meeting, a pace car ride on Sunday morning with a member of NASCAR for some hot laps.
“Lastly, not only were we allowed in the pits if we didn’t want to sit in our seats, at the end of the day, we were actually in Victory Lane when the driver pulled up. We were seated a few feet away. My friend was a fan of the No. 88 car. She was thrilled to see him in Victory Lane. They reward people like me. When Dale Jr. was retiring, I was able to be in the last drivers meeting when all of the NASCAR community saluted him at Homestead.”