How I Met Al Snow At The Most Improbable NASCAR Win Ever

(Viewings for a cool & rainy Saturday afternoon.)

I’m watching the delightful ECW pay-per-view WrestlePalooza ’98 this afternoon with my good friend, Steve. The main event is The Franchise Shane Douglas defending against the one, the only Al Snow, with Head.

By the way, it was a great match, but I felt like we all knew going in, the final result. Has anyone ever done a positive swerve? Like, what if Shane Douglas, telling no one (except maybe Paul E.) that he was going to let Snow pin him? Wouldn’t that be incredible? I felt like Snow, given the popularity of Head & the fact he was a solid wrestler who could adapt to all the ECW styles, could have a legit run as champion. You could take it off him in a couple weeks, but that would be some great stuff just for the reaction from the surprised winner.

Anywhoodle, it made me think of the time I met Al Snow at a NASCAR race in Kentucky. It was June 17, 2006, and I was at Kentucky Speedway covering the NASCAR Busch Series race there. I was working with Mark Garrow from the Performance Racing Network, the radio organization covering NASCAR events at tracks owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., such as Bristol, Charlotte, Sonoma, etc. (and now, ironically, Kentucky). I was there for my racing radio show out of St. Louis & Mark was actually there as a pit reporter for Fox, covering the race for television.

(Real quick, now I’m watching the 2005 One Night Stand. I’ll do a blog about that someday. What a great show that was. My 32nd berfmas! Man, I love the WWE Network. Yeah, I’m a mark. Fight me.)

(This has nothing to do with the story; it just made me giggle as I scrolled past it on Google.)

So Mark asked me if I’d like to expand my professional horizons and work with him as a runner that night. I said sure. My job was to find out who he need information from and get it. On pit road, reporters are assigned certain drivers. Most of those drivers have a PR rep in the pits with the team. As a reporter or a runner, you talk to that rep to find out if they’re making any changes during a pit stop, finding out what a driver is saying after an incident, etc. It’s fun & goes from slow to HOLY SHIT! really quick & I love that.

This ended up being a memorable night because the winning driver was a young man named David Gilliland. He was a California driver not many people had heard of, driving for a team no one had heard of, and ended up winning the fucking thing. He went from having a real job to being a millionaire before the sun came up.

I’ve covered NASCAR and motorsports for almost 20 years and one of the neat things about races are the track and the sanction (NASCAR, NHRA, etc.) bring in celebrities to entice fans & flaunt them in front of the media. I’ve done it as track staff & have become really good friends with some really cool people. One of those people at Kentucky Speedway that night (other than Bootsy Collins, who I met that night as well) was Al Snow.

I’m running down pit road, there was just an accident on the track, and I’m trying to get to the driver’s PR rep to see how the driver’s doing, what he’s saying, if he’s going to punch the other guy, etc. As I run, I fly past a guy that looks just like Al Snow. Then it hits me: THAT REALLY FUCKING WAS AL SNOW!

In my mind, I skidded to a halt Scooby Doo-style, did a quick turn around, ran back to Al, and said “Hey, you’re Al Snow!”

He looked a bit surprised, but took it in stride and said, “Yes, I am!”

“You’re awesome!”

“Thank you!”

And then I took off running again, off to found out if the driver was OK. He was.

I’d like to think Al Snow was OK, too. And you know what?

I think he was…

I think he was.

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