Hey there, everyone. Guess what happened this week? Well, Elon Werner and I have a lot of things in common, including our PR careers, our love of sports, and our mutual sense of sarcastic humor. This week, we both completely zoned out on the fact yesterday was Thursday. Sometime around 8:00 pm, it occurred to me that it was blog day and I hadn’t gotten anything from Elon. I wasn’t going to bug him at the time, so I went with the belief that it would all work out, at some point. Or maybe he was just tired of doing it. Or he’d been abducted by aliens. Anything was possible. The alien abduction would’ve made for some incredible blog content, too. I was hopeful. I mean, hopeful for good alien stories but not hopeful they had done anything “uncomfortable” to him.
Then, when I was just about nodding off watching mindless TV shows about giant Canadian tow trucks, house hunting in Hawaii, home repairs (love me some Mike Holmes!) or aerial drone footage of famous locations, I got a text from Elon about missing the deadline. Ha! We both missed it. Just one more thing we have in common.
It’s been a busy week for me, and as you’ll see below it’s been even busier for Mr. Werner. I’ve been writing, but I also took off a few hours to play my first round of golf in 2021. My buddies Joe and Terry, along with Terry’s son Dylan, picked Tuesday as our first day on the course. After a string of spring days in the glorious 50s, 60s, and even the 70s, we just happened to have our tee time on a day when it was a blustery 42 degrees with a 35-degree windchill. So I blame the weather on my abysmal performance. That and the fact I never got to a driving range to sort out my swing and didn’t even hit any balls before we teed off.
My philosophy on that is as follows: During every year of my lengthy baseball career (I played well past my 39th birthday) the best day of batting practice every year was the first day. I think it was because, as an over-thinker of such endeavors, I grabbed a bat on that day and had no bad habits. I just hit. Naturally. Day 2 would always be much worse as I started to tinker and over-analyze.
So I was about frozen by the end of our round, and then Barbara and I went directly to a volunteer trash-collecting day on the massive grounds surrounding the corporate headquarters where she works. A large group of employees showed up to wear bright orange vests, use trash “picker-uppers” and put garbage we found in huge plastic bags. It was all good, and I’m glad we did it. We brought in quite a haul of coffee cups, plastic bottles, and other stuff drivers had willfully and knowingly tossed from the windows of their cars or trucks as they drove by the H.B. Fuller world headquarters and its huge nature preserve. This land-based flotsam and jetsam also included a lot of small booze bottles and empty cans of Skoal. The life lesson I learned was this: Some people are pigs. It’s basically disgusting to pick up their trash, and they did it on purpose, throwing their junk on the property of an upstanding civic-minded company where they don’t even work. That’s why it felt good to join the group and do our part for Barb’s company. But still… Pigs! And I will state this as a fact: I have NEVER ONCE thrown any trash out of my car window. NEVER! I don’t understand humans.
And even though it was still cold and I hadn’t really warmed up after pretending to play golf, it still felt good to do it.
So here’s Elon, explaining why he blew his deadline. I might have to dock his pay a percentage, although a percentage of zero is still zero. Now I have to finish Chapter 35 of the new book. That’s my self-imposed deadline.
See you next week. Hopefully on the right day!
PS: As always, if you finish this blog and found you even slightly enjoyed it, please tell your fingers to click on the “Like” button at the bottom. Gracias.
Hello blog faithful! Elon Werner here. Something happened this week that I honestly think has only happened once or twice in my 30 years as a PR professional. I missed a deadline. Specifically, I missed the deadline for writing this blog!
My schedule for planning and writing this blog had been foolproof since last October. I would start thinking about blog topics on Saturday or Sunday before my Wednesday deadline. On Monday and Tuesday I would jot down notes in a word document and on Wednesday afternoons I wrote the blog and gathered up a few photos. I usually tried to send the blog to Bob by mid-afternoon that day. There were a few occasions I knew I had something going on, or something popped up, and I sent the blog to Bob on Thursday morning. There was always some sort of communication to Bob about my timing. Not this time.
On Thursday night of this week, at 10:47 p.m. Dallas time, I suddenly realized I hadn’t done anything for the blog and I hadn’t given Bob any indication I wasn’t sending him a blog. I felt terrible as I typed a quick text apologizing. Bob was, of course, very understanding and I think this week might have flown by him as well. The thing was at the time I didn’t think this week had been that crazy, but then I thought about it.
Last weekend I spent Friday through Sunday in Las Vegas at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. I had a lot going on from the second I landed. I traveled on Friday morning and my first event was a lunch meeting with Kalitta Motorsports’ sponsor Revchem Composites at the Aliante Hotel and Casino, which was basically right across the highway from the race track.
My flight’s takeoff, however, was delayed by a thunderstorm that rolled through Dallas. I am glad I was on the ground because it was a very intense, but short, storm. We took off 45 minutes late, but that ate up all the buffer time I had built in to get to the lunch on time. I landed in Las Vegas at 10:30 a.m. and I needed to be at the Aliante by 11:30 a.m.. I hustled off the plane and rode the tram to the main terminal in record time. I caught the bus to the rental car center, grabbed my car, and was on the road by 11:05 a.m. but I was 30 minutes from the meeting according to Siri. Shockingly, there wasn’t a delay on the highway (if you know typical Vegas traffic you know what I mean) and I walked into the hotel just a few minutes late. I texted the Kalitta guys and gave them a heads up, so it all worked out, but it was a hectic start to a busy weekend.
The Las Vegas race had one qualifying run on Friday and two on Saturday, so after the lunch meeting I headed to the track. I made the rounds to check in with my other clients, Justin Ashley and Alexis DeJoria. Justin had some guests from his sponsor Auto Shocker at the race, as well as a couple potential sponsors. I was able to talk with them briefly and let them know Justin was one of the rising stars of the NHRA.
The Friday night qualifying session came off without a hitch and I was in my hotel room by 10:30 p.m. after a whirlwind 12 hour day. We stayed at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, which was a new location for me. I have to say, unfortunately, I was not a fan. My floor was incredibly noisy and it wasn’t just the usual Las Vegas hallway noise. It was way worse. I wasn’t the only one with issues. A couple people in our group changed rooms because their floors were so rowdy. Saturday night was better but I am definitely getting old.
Saturday at the track was another stacked day of activities. The Kalitta team has started doing live Zoom tours of the pit area at select events. I ran the camera, Luke Fath, Kalitta Motorsports Social Media Manager, ran the computer and Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd did all the talking. We started in Shawn’s DHL pit area and walked through the Mac Tools pit, our hospitality area and finally arrived at J.R.’s DHL Funny Car pit area. During the live Zoom tours our sponsors got a behind the scenes look at the action and then asked the drivers questions. It has become a great tool for us to bring the sponsors and potential sponsors closer to the action.
After the tour we hosted a quick Q&A for the guests that were at the track in person. The good news is more and more people are getting the COVID vaccine, so more people are able to come to the track. The two qualifying sessions ran smoothly and we wrapped up Saturday in good positions to go rounds on Sunday. I was able to spend some time with Will Hauser, a photographer hired by FOX to get some photos of the event and their talent. He’s a great guy and he brought a whole new perspective to drag racing photography. We bumped into each other throughout the day and at the end of the event he shared some of the photos he shot. They were amazing and he was nice enough to snap a couple photos of me talking with some of the drivers. It is very rare for me to get photos of myself at the track working.
Race day flew by and Doug Kalitta grabbed another runner-up finish at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Almost all of the drivers I worked with advanced to the second round or beyond. That made for a good day of writing, since cranking out a lot of “first round runner-up” releases is tough on the brain. I flew home on Monday and went to work on other client business.
In addition to my at-track motorsports clients I also cover Major League Rugby, TMS Titanium, Texas Motorplex, and Milwaukee Area Technical College. They all had things going on this week and I think that was how I got knocked off my blog routine. The Motorplex was hosting a huge EDM concert that was expected to have 20,000+ people in attendance. EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music which is the new way of saying there’s a DJ. More than 60 EDM artists descended on Texas Motorplex for a two day camping and music festival. In addition, client TMS Titanium was ramping up a 15-year anniversary plan and MATC has a virtual car show on the horizon next month, so there was planning for that.
The virtual car show was something I helped MATC put together last year and I encourage all of you readers who have classic cars or trucks to enter this year. The website is www.MATCcarshow.com and it will be open for entries beginning May 12. Fans can post photos of their favorite ride in any of the over a dozen categories from May 12 to May 22 and on the day of the show, May 22, people can vote for their favorite ride. It is cool because you can enter from anywhere across the country or around the world. Last year there were entries from more than 20 states as well as Canada.
Anyway, to get back to why I missed my deadline, I was working on all those projects and I never made my daily “to-do” list. That was where the ultimate breakdown happened. I am a list maker. Grocery lists, interview lists, weekend task lists, and my trusty daily “to-do” list. I went into the office every morning and just started working. I won’t miss making my list again.
One big highlight from this week was catching up with my good friend and motorsports writer Elana Scherr. She was in town, actually Fort Worth, Texas, filming a segment for Hemmings.com online series Road To Improvement. She and Mike Musto are driving a spectacular green Suburban across the country and rebuilding it as they go. They were in Texas to have an air conditioning system and new radiator installed. Instead of the standard “stay in a shop and rebuild” they are driving from city to city and making additions as they go, including a new transmission, A/C, and eventually the interior when they get to the West Coast. When it is all tricked out it will be sold at auction during SEMA to raise money for SEMA’s educational programs. Elana and I had a blast as we talked about our favorite road trips and show ideas. She was also nice enough to sign my Snake biography that she co-wrote alongside Don Prudhomme.
It was a crazy week and again I can’t believe I blew right past Wednesday and Thursday. I’ll do better next week because I will make my “to-do” list.