Joe L. was able to bring his parents to the final race of the NASCAR season with a win in a contest that saw his favorite driver Carl Edwards take the win at Texas. Joe was able to meet his favorite athlete while also witness history with Jimmie Johnson’s 7th Championship. It was Joe’s 11 NASCAR track he’s visited with the hope of seeing them all!
Q Give us a play-by-play of your experience? Did you travel from far? What was your favorite part of your experience?
A Our DraftKings Experience began on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway where we were picked up our VIP NASCAR passes that gave us total access to the garage area and pit road. It was incredible to be so close to the sights and sounds
of the crews adjusting their cars and drivers revving their engines. We were literally inches from passing racecars as they made their way to the track for practice laps.
Practice day also afforded us the opportunity to meet many NASCAR drivers, including my driver, Carl Edwards. It was an honor to be able to shake his hand and wish him luck for the upcoming race weekend. Saturday brought the opportunity to watch the NASCAR Xfinity drivers fight for the championship from the pits.
It was a fantastic race and I got to see one of my favorite Xfinity drivers, Daniel Suárez, secure the championship. We ran out onto pit road after the race and watched Daniel do an awesome burnout. We were also stage-front to see him receive his trophy. I even got a team hat that was tossed by a crew member!
Finally, Sunday was Sprint Cup Championship race day. During pre-race, my family and I were able to sign our names on the track. We had a prime spot for driver introductions and were able to see the Championship 4 take the stage. My absolute favorite moment of the weekend was on the starting grid, when I was able to snap an awesome selfie with Carl Edwards. As for the race itself, it was action-packed and pressure-filled.
We stood behind Carl’s pit box and cheered him on as he made incredible passes. However, you can imagine my heartbreak when with 10 laps to go, Carl tried to block and was spun into the wall, dashing his hopes of a championship. Although I was disappointed, it was remarkable to see firsthand how Carl handled the situation with so much class – it made me even more proud to be his fan! Ultimately, the weekend concluded with Jimmie Johnson securing his seventh championship. It was incredible to witness history and to be a part of the postrace festivities on the track. DraftKings was absolutely incredible, providing us with credit for airfare and hotel, in addition to the VIP passes. It truly was a dream weekend!
Q Tell us about your winning contest "sweat". What qualifier did you enter (e.g. $3 PGA Qualifier)? Who was in your winning lineup?
A I entered the Free Daily Fantasy NASCAR Game for the Texas Motor Speedway race. To say it was a nail-biter would be an understatement! My lineup remained in the top dozen for the majority of the race (out of over 2000 entries). With less than 100 laps to go, Carl Edwards, my favorite driver and a top point earner in my lineup was in second place when the caution came out. With rain threatening to cut the race short, the next pit stop would potentially decide the race winner. After an incredible pit stop, Carl came out in first and all of a sudden, I found my DraftKings account in first place! For the next 20 minutes, I found myself yelling at the TV for the rain to come - usually, I like to see the race run the full distance, but I could make an exception this time. Finally, the rain began pouring down and the race was called with 40 laps remaining. My favorite driver had just won the race, and his win helped propel me to victory in the DraftKings contest. My winning lineup: Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Alex Bowman, Michael McDowell.
Q Where were you when you won? How did you celebrate? Fist pump like Tiger? Riverdance like Chad Ochocinco? “Ride the Bull” like Happy Gilmore?
AI was sitting at home on the family room couch (well, mainly off the couch for the last 60 laps). When the race was called, I went insane! Fist pumps, jumping, shaking, maybe a few tears too. It was an incredible feeling I won’t soon forget!
Q Where are you from?
A I am from Long Valley, New Jersey.
Q Favorite sports team? How long have you been a fan of this team? Favorite team moment?
A My favorite NASCAR driver/team is Carl Edwards and team 19. I’ve been a fan of his for just about 10 years. I remember him wowing me with his first Sprint Cup win when he narrowly beat Jimmie Johnson to the finish line at Atlanta. However, what has impressed me even more than his driving is how respectful and down to earth he is towards his fans. I experienced his friendliness firsthand at Homestead-Miami – despite the pressure of the championship weekend, he took time to greet all of his fans, myself included, and you could tell how thankful he was for the support. As an avid #19 fan, that made me feel incredible.
Q Favorite athlete?
A Of course, Carl Edwards!
Q Favorite sports movie?
A Talladega Nights! “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”
Q What is your favorite sports memory?
A This Homestead-Miami experience is now top of the list! Also, attending the Daytona 500 in 2015 was very memorable.
Q Favorite fantasy sport on DraftKings?
A Without a doubt NASCAR. It’s the sport that I follow most closely, and I love the strategic elements of picking the six driver lineup. The salary caps force you to consider the lower rated drivers, but when considering place differential points, the drivers you least expect can be major point earners towards your lineup.
Q What else is on your sports bucket list?
A Honestly, any NASCAR track! My goal is to make it to every NASCAR track on the schedule. After Homestead, my total track count is up to 11. I would also love to attend the Indy 500 and the Super Bowl.
Q What do you love most about DraftKings?
A I love the competitiveness and strategy involved with DraftKings, as well as the live leaderboards. Watching the DraftKings standings change lap after lap during a race has added even more excitement to the sport I love.