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NASCAR Paint Scheme
We had a wonderfully unbelievable, unforgettable experience on Saturday, April 9: we saw Jake & Josh's feetprint and signatures zooming around a racetrack at 200 miles per hour.
Jake and Josh were co-designers of NASCAR's No. 11 car driven by Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing. The car is sponsored by FedEx Racing, and each year they donate a week of their paint scheme to promote March of Dimes and March for Babies.
The last three years, the folks at JGR came up with their own way of honoring the organization. This year, they decided to bring in a few kids to help, and our boys were fortunate enough to get the call.
All five of us visited JGR headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., on March 8. After getting a tour of the whole "shop," the boys got down to business - drawing right on a car featuring just a few stickers. They drew pictures, put down strips of tape for racing stripes and experimented with all sorts of things. They worked with JGR's top designer, chatted with Joe Gibbs then spent time with Denny. It was as if Denny and the boys had been friends forever. They clicked right away, and he had all sorts of good ideas about what they should draw and where. Click here for pictures.



These videos look the same here, but they're different. The first focuses more on the design of the car, the second is more about our story.



On April 7, we were at Texas Motor Speedway when the final product came rolling off the truck.
The most amazing feature was seeing the boys' original footprints blown up on the back of the car, just below the March for Babies logo, with their actual signatures.
The boys had put generic footprint tickers on the back during our visit to Charlotte, but the designers scanned the footprints off our business cards and used the real deal; what a genuine touch!
We returned the next day for a news conference featuring Denny, Jake & Josh and a full-scale model of the car. The boys answered questions, and even asked Denny a question. Denny was terrific talking to them, and about them.

And ...

Click here for about 4 minutes of audio from the news conference. (Josh mentions us "secretly visiting Victory Lane last year." He meant the day before, when no one was around. Since Denny won both races at TMS last year, he thought we might've been there for one of them. He repeated this in later interviews, which shows he was paying attention!) 

Race day was a non-stop thrill.
The fun began in the morning, when we saw a feature about it all on the ESPN2 program "NASCAR Now."

As soon as we got out of our car at the track, a man approached us, saying he'd seen us on the show and proudly telling us he had been born premature and now knew more about the March of Dimes. That was so cool, since that's exactly what this was all about.
We spent a few hours at the FedEx corporate tent, along with the show car and appearances by Denny and Joe Gibbs. Then, we were escorted to pit row, where we had a chance to chat with Denny again as he was getting into the car for the race. We spent all 334 laps in his pit area, with everyone on his team going out of their way to make sure we enjoyed the experience. Although we were essentially hanging out in their office -- on what sort of was a difficult day at work for them -- they couldn't have been nicer. Click here for pictures.

Besides the sights and sounds that make auto racing something you have to experience to appreciate, the coolest part of the night was seeing those footprints. The best view came when FOX showed the in-car camera of someone right behind Denny. (We hope to have a video clip to share soon.)
Midway through the race, J.D. Gibbs (Joe's son and the president of JGR) tapped Jaime on the shoulder to say how much he liked how the design turned out. He joked that if Denny won, we'd have to go on the road as their good luck charm. It would've been very easy for him to walk by and do his job, but the fact he went out of his way like that just shows what good people they are. Ditto for Denny. After the race, we waited for him to finish chatting with his bosses and doing interviews so could say a quick goodbye. He gave a post-race, auto-pilot smile and wave -- then it clicked that it was us, and he turned around again to give a heartier farewell. Again, it shows how sincere everyone was. They weren't doing this merely to fulfill an obligation to a sponsor (FedEx) or a charity.
Denny finished 15th on Saturday night, but he, JGR and FedEx Racing are all No. 1 to us.



* Click here to read an article written from the news conference, and click here for the release that went out on the PR Newswire.


* To see the NASCAR Now feature with two cute teases that were used to promote it, click here.


* To see a clip of the car in action, click here.


* Click here to see a story about NASCAR drivers and their charity work - built around Jake & Josh designing Denny's car - that ran in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News the Sunday before the race.


* Click here for a writeup on the NASCAR website, and here for a story on The Sporting News website. Both have the same cute picture of Josh peeking under the hood.


* Click here for a family portrait in front of the car the day it was unveiled.