BY DAN GUTTENPLAN
Steven Whitlock is an original member of the Official NASCAR Member’s Club, having joined in 2005. Soon after, the Pittsburgh, Pa., resident became the president of his local ONMC chapter.
Whitlock’s local chapter has long been one of the most active and populated of any in the nation. He became one of the club’s six national advisers in 2006. The longtime racing fan recently joined us for a Q&A.
“I didn’t grow up following NASCAR. It wasn’t until 1996 or 1997. A neighbor grew up as a fan of Bobby Labonte, and I started following racing so I could talk to her about it.”
“Pittsburgh has a very enriched history with NASCAR. This was as far west as NASCAR traveled back in the day. I started appreciating the history. In the early 2000s, we had 59 racetracks in Pennsylvania, and 12 were NASCAR-sanctioned.”
“I became a member when it was formed because they offered contests. I signed up to become the local chapter president soon after that. I started recruiting people to become members of the club. We ended up building the largest chapter in the club with 125 members. “
“They developed a competition between me and a guy in West Virginia. I won that contest by developing programming that they liked. I was the first person to create a local headquarters for fans with a Hooters restaurant. That caught on, and the club developed a local headquarters program.”
“I used to bring local drivers out to the restaurant. Fans had the opportunity to race drivers on an XBOX. I was the first to pen an agreement between NASCAR and Nationwide. I signed up my local agent, and he offered club members discounts on insurance.”
“I’ve had opportunities that an average race fan just can’t get. I’ve met drivers on a national level. I’ve been given a national leadership award through the club. I was able to go to oval track day at the state capitol. I was able to represent the club and NASCAR with representatives from the local government.”