Most drivers see the fans in the garage area as a necessary aggravation. The fans may get in the way, and ask for photos and autographs at the wrong moment, but they help pay the bills. While in the Darlington garage on Friday during Cup tech and qualifying, I noticed the different tacts used by the drivers with the fans.
Some guys like Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr, Andy Lally, and David Reutimann actually stood around conversing with their fans, signing anything, and taking pictures. Other drivers strode quickly by groups of fans before the fans even knew they were there. Every driver I saw would at least sign a couple of autographs as they marched briskly along.
My brother, Jason, brought along a Darlington, souvenir, checkered flag which he had no trouble getting 29 drivers to sign for him. I wasn't wearing a media badge, so I asked for two autographs myself. I got Kasey Kahne to sign a hero card for my niece, and Kyle Busch signed a hat I was wearing.
I've seen snarling pro ball players breeze right by adoring kids without even acknowledging their existence. Some of the drivers did not seem pleased with the interaction, but they would at least sign autographs for anyone who could keep pace as they walked along. They may not like it but they get it; this is their workplace, but their boss is allowing the customers to mingle and they have to make the best of it.
Three drivers had an inventive way to get from point A to point B without having to pose for pictures or sign autographs......