Hello, Pell City! This column is coming to you from trackside at the Talladega Superspeedway where a lot of Pell City residents enjoyed the Arrons 499 race this past weekend. Local attorney Lyle Harmon probably enjoyed it a little more than most - he had the very enviable job of escorting Miss America, Katie Stam, around the track on Sunday. Lyle was nice enough to introduce me to her; Lyle and I both agreed that she was a very sweet down-to-earth young lady...Not to mention absolutely beautiful! America is well represented this year by Katie Stam.

I almost didn't recognize another local attorney in Pell City, Kyle Barrentine, as he walked around the garage area - I'm used to seeing him in a suite and tie but he looked very casual in his shirt and jeans as he showed some folks around.

Also enjoying going to the race on Sunday was Joni Reeves Hawkins and her daughter Jeslyn. They got to spend some time in the garage area and were thrilled to meet some of their favorite drivers including Clint Bowyer, and Greg Biffle. On Saturday they ate at The Montana Grill and met Robbie Gordon.

I ran into Josh Woodam while walking along pit road and he said he was having a great time while taking a lot of photos of the event. Jamie Willis stopped me near the Media Center and we talked for a while about some local residents we know that work with either the ARCA or NASCAR drivers. He was having a good time at the Talladega Superspeedway, although we both agreed it would have been nice if it had been a little cooler.

Also having a good time was Teri Gagliano and her mother, Joan Calvert. Teri was covering the races for WFHK radio station and had a nice story to report...She accidentally left her camera case and cell phone in the pit box of one of the ARCA drivers and was quite surprised when the driver called her mother's phone and said that he had just finished the ARCA race and when he and his crew left the track he'd be glad to meet her in Pell City and drop off her phone! Teri and I both thought it was extremely nice and thoughtful thing for that driver to do.

I ran into an old high school buddy,Tim Bennett, and his wife Kelley as they were watching some drivers go to a meeting with their pit crews. I only had a minute to visit with them, but hopefully we can catch up some more at the PCHS Class of 1984 reunion coming up in June.

I also saw former Pell City resident Danielle Fields Frye, as she was busy interviewing drivers for the Motor Racing Network where she works. Danielle has been very successful in her line of work and represents Pell City well.

One of the biggest highlights for the folks from Pell City and a lot of other racing fans, was when University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban showed up in the garage area.... I saw a huge rush of people and assumed that one of the more popular drivers such as Dale Jr. must have pulled up, but when I heard everyone yelling "Roll Tide!" I knew who it had to be. Coach Saban actually go more cheers than any of the drivers while in the garage area, but when he came on stage during driver introductions he got a lot of boos...Obviously a lot of Auburn fans at the races!

I hope everyone enjoys the pictures that John Gilreath and I took for the News-Aegis of all the sights and sounds that could only come from the Talladega Superspeedway! Happy 40th Birthday, 'Dega! If you have any news or announcements please call or email me at shonda_news@hotmail.com. Have a great week!

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