Stephen’s Marriage Proposal to Vanessa at Talladega Superspeedway!!!
I’m not really sure how to correctly begin this, so I’ll just jump right in..
Vanessa and I met when we were in middle school (or junior high as we called it back then) back in 1991-1992. We both had the same groups of friends, but never actually hung out together. We of course knew “of” each other, but that was about it. Fast forward almost 20 years, and fate began to make its way out of turn 4 and head for home. Our first date was after a ZZ Top concert that she attended. I had to work that night, and got off a little late, so yes – I was late for our first date. We opted instead to meet up after the concert and it was all over after that. She and I dated for two years, enjoying going to the races and camping at Daytona, Talladega, Atlanta, and Charlotte. Two years in the books, I knew it was time to ask her to marry me. But it had to be different. At first, I thought “why not in Victory Lane at Talladega?” That was good, but it could be better. Matthew Dillner, of Speed51.com, host of the weekly “Garage Cam” segment on Nascar.com, had an amazing idea. Why not propose on Garage Cam – LIVE? An amazing idea that would allow me to propose at a place that we both hold near and dear – the track! It would also allow us to share the moment with friends and family who couldn’t be there in person by streaming it live on the web.
…So off to Talladega we went, camper in tow, ring in pocket, nerves on edge (mine at least, she knew nothing about it). Of course, all our camping neighbors in the Geico Green section on the Talladega infield knew the secret, and they kept it well. Friday morning, I awoke early and told Vanessa that I won garage passes from the live show of “Garage Cam” and we had to go pick up our credentials. After picking up our credentials, we headed to the garage area. Our favorite driver is Carl Edwards, and of course, while we were still in shock of being in the garage areas, we headed over to his hauler. I knew what was to come, with backpack on, ring in pouch, and again – nerves on edge. When we got to the hauler, I could see Matthew and his Garage Cam crew shuffling in and out of each garage stall, just waiting for them to come our way. The fact that it was pretty much the boiling point of steel that day didn’t help a bit. Matthew and his crew made their way over to us and after chatting a bit, I hit a knee and did the duty. Afterwards, Carl came out of the hauler and, after mentioning that his timing has been known to be a little off (since a debated “early restart” after a final caution from the week before), he congratulated us and gave some great advice for a happy marriage. We returned to our campsite to celebrate with all our friends and (for me) to calm my nerves and finally relax and enjoy the weekend! We were married later that year and have been married now for two and a half wonderful years. In fact, I even designed our wedding invitations to look like race tickets! Included below is a link to the actualTalladega Proposal video from the Garage Cam segment. Thank you for the opportunity to share what has most definitely been one of the greatest days of my life!