NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick arrived at the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet grand opening around 10 a.m. Wednesday. Troy’s Toby Blair had him beat by about 10 hours.
With a chance to meet a Sprint Cup driver, Blair arrived at the store at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday — a full eight hours before autograph vouchers were to be handed out — and slept on the sidewalk right outside Sidney’s newest business in the West Town Square.
“Just to see the store and meet a NASCAR driver. He’s one of my favorites,” said Blair, who received the first autograph of the morning with ticket No. 1 of the 250 handed out. “(Harvick’s) got an attitude with it. He knows what he’s doing.”
As for Blair, did his family and friends think he was crazy spending the night outside Ollie’s?
“My boss does,” said Blair, who was already scheduled to be off work Wednesday morning.
As for Harvick, the crowds that greet NASCAR drivers never fail to impress. He signed a variety of memorabilia, posed for photos and answered a few questions including, yes, what do you do when you have to go to the restroom during a race? Another fan told Harvick his wife almost passed out getting to meet the driver.
“We do several of these a year and we always have a good turnout,” Harvick said. “That’s makes you feel good not only for Ollie’s, but what you’re doing on the race track.”
Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s/Rheem Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, enters Sunday’s race in Kansas 12th in points. It was revealed during the offseason he’ll drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, owned by good friend and Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart. While he’ll have to answer to Stewart in the Sprint Cup series, there’s one race Stewart won’t be talking Harvick into competing in. Eldora hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on July 24. It’s NASCAR’s first national series event (Cup, Nationwide or Trucks) on dirt since 1970.
“My dirt racing career is over,” said Harvick, who was a regular at the Prelude to the Dream charity late model events at Eldora. “I’ll be one of the very interested spectators to see how the whole thing goes. … I think it’s going to be a great event. There’s going to be a lot of hurt feelings (not making the race). With only 30 trucks starting, in my opinion that’ll be by far the biggest Truck field they’ll have show up all year to run. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the race and who doesn’t make the race because I think it’ll be the biggest field and the hardest race to make.”