RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY MAKES A DREAM COME TRUE May 17, 2005, Richmond VA--Just three days after millions of viewers watched Kasey Kahne win the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway "under the lights," millions...
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY MAKES A DREAM COME TRUE
May 17, 2005, Richmond VA--Just three days after millions of viewers watched Kasey Kahne win the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway "under the lights," millions more saw "America's Premier Short Track" featured in a different light--daylight--on a segment of NBC's Today show, one of the country's most popular morning news programs.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, and NBC news anchor Brian Williams helped make a dream come true for "NASCAR Mom" Miechel Bassett of Evansville, Indiana. As part of the "Live for Today" portion of Tuesday morning's show, Bassett turned laps around Richmond International Raceway's 0.75-mile D-shaped oval in two-seater racecars featuring the paint schemes of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet and No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, provided by the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
"It was exhilarating riding with them. You just kind of let it all go," said Bassett, who also had the chance to get behind the wheel and drive a few laps on her own. "When I was driving it was mind-boggling to keep the car where it was supposed to be."
Bassett's wish was one of more than 60,000 received by Today as part of its month-long series, "Live for Today." From skydiving to playing baseball in a Major League ballpark to running with the bulls in Pamplona to eating a cheeseburger in paradise, Today narrowed down the responses to a list of the top 50 things that many want to do in their lifetime.
"Having the opportunity to host one of the top 50 experiences in the world is an honor for Richmond International Raceway," said track president Doug Fritz. "This is a win-win situation to have one of America's top television shows film a segment at one of the country's top racetracks."
A housewife and mother of two, Bassett was escorted to the track by Williams, an avid racing fan and host of NBC Nightly News. Williams has participated in the Richard Petty Driving Experience numerous times.
"It's a great way to let people experience what the drivers feel," said Williams. "This is a releaser of endorphins. This is the greatest, natural high known to man."
NBC News pioneered the morning news program when it launched Today more than 50 years ago. The three-hour live program provides the latest in domestic and international news, weather reports and interviews with newsmakers from the world of politics, business, media, entertainment and sports. America's #1 morning show for almost 10 years in a row, Today is co-anchored by Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. Ann Curry is the news anchor. Al Roker reports on the day's weather and Gene Shalit contributes entertainment reviews and interviews. Willard Scott also contributes with his popular centenarian birthday segments.