Gavin Faretra used to imagine what it would be like to attend NASCAR's annual media tour in North Carolina, but he never got a chance to actually make the trek to stock car racing nirvana during his days covering the sport for the Concord Monitor.
Well, Faretra, who was hired as the communications manager at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in May, is finally making the pilgrimage this week. Is it what he envisioned?
"And more," Faretra said during one of a handful of stops Wednesday on the penultimate day of the 31st annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The four-day press junket, centered around the speedway and all the team racing shops nearby, has drawn media members from over 200 affiliations, testing their endurance and appetites.
"Everything seems to revolve around some sort of food," Faretra said.
Worked around breakfast, lunch, dinner and the inevitable late night munchies back at the media hotel in Concord (North Carolina, that is), Faretra said the media has had almost unlimited access to drivers and owners, filling up their notebooks and film with stories.
"Essentially, you get one-on-one conversations with the biggest names in the sport," Faretra said.
Wednesday's itinerary was typical: The media boarded three buses for breakfast at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and the announcement that Cessna Aircraft will be a major sponsor for the team. Interviews with Ganassi and drivers Jamie McMurray, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas followed.
The media was herded back in their buses for a trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway for more interviews, then headed over to Hendrick Motorsports for lunch and interviews with team owner Rick Hendrick and drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. They went back to the hotel to file stories, take break and get ready for dinner at Penske Racing and, finally, the day ended back at the hotel for an after dinner party hosted by FoxSports that included a late-night buffet.
"It's never ending," Faretra said. "I think the media is getting tired."