One Sweet Deal: Homestead-Miami Speedway Guest Among M&M’s “Most Colorful Fan”

Track President Matt Becherer with lucky fan

Homestead Miami-Speedway President Matthew Becherer took the Birdwell family on a grand tour of THE Championship Track, including a few laps around both courses.

Homestead resident Kristi Birdwell was already a rabid fan of watching Jeff Gordon race in NASCAR’s Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway each year. And that enthusiasm just got amped up a few notches….

While attending last year’s series-crowning NASCAR finale at her “hometown track”—decked out in her finest No. 24/Jeff Gordon apparel, of course—Birdwell posed for a photo, signed a release and went on with her day of Championship-finale racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Two months later, Kristi received a phone call from her Uncle Johnny regarding a picture he saw of her at NASCAR.com. At first glance, Johnny was skeptical of the photograph, but after several days passed he sent a link to the website that featured the picture of Kristi.

Said Kristi’s incredulous father, Robert Birdwell: “Can you imagine how many shots they took, and out of all those people, they chose her? And of all places, here at Homestead-Miami?”

M&M's created its "Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR" contest encouraging fans to showcase their passionate love for the sport by uploading their most eye-catching photos for a chance to win NASCAR-themed prizes. Birdwell’s picture was chosen as an advertisement on the M&M’s website.

The contest—which went live during the Daytona 500 and lasts 24 weeks—celebrates and rewards fans for showcasing their colorful passion for the sport and drivers of NASCAR. Fans were invited to showcase their love by uploading their most colorful racing-themed photos to www.NASCAR.com/MostColorfulFan. More than seven million votes were cast.

Stumbling upon her picture on a website was one thing, but for the Birdwells to get their hands on a hard copy of that photo was a different proposition altogether.

“I showed my Dad and emailed the link to my Grandma [Ruth Birdwell],” Kristi recalled. “I kept telling her that maybe I should send it to Jeff Gordon to show him that I am his true No. 1 fan, in hopes of either meeting him or getting his autograph.”

Grandparents are known to spoil their grandchildren, and Ruth Birdwell is no exception. So she launched her own campaign to locate the photo and get it signed by Gordon. Her initial target? The president…

…Of Homestead-Miami Speedway. Matthew Becherer then enlisted the assistance of Corporate Partnerships Director Daniel Carpenter, point man on the Speedway’s relationship with M&Ms. If not quite at the speed of a No. 24 team pit stop, the Homestead-Miami duo got it done, securing Kristi’s contest-winning photo signed by her ultimate NASCAR hero with the cooperation of M&Ms and DuPont. The gift was presented live by Becherer at THE Championship Track at the end of May.

“This is more than a NASCAR thing,” said Becherer. “We’re proud of the passion that our fans exhibit here at Homestead-Miami each fall when NASCAR and IndyCar come to South Florida to crown Champions. And we want people to know that Kristi is leading that charge.”

Ironically, the signed photo (signed by Jeff Gordon at Dover) was supposed to be a birthday present for Kristi, come September. But Grandma couldn’t contain her excitement when Becherer offered to present the photo in conjunction with a behind-the-scenes tour of THE Championship Track and laps around the road course and oval where IndyCar (Oct. 1-2) and NASCAR (Nov. 19-21), respectively, will crown Champions this fall. Needless to say, Kristi, her dad and grandma all enjoyed their afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway

“This was truly amazing; what a beautiful facility,” said Grandma Ruth. “Thank you so much for making this happen.”

And the final kicker, courtesy of Kristi….

“Not only did Jeff sign my photo, but I hope that he got to see that I was wearing all of his stuff in front of Kyle Busch’s [M&M’s] sponsor!”

The best seats to see both IndyCar (Oct. 1-2) and NASCAR (Nov. 19-21) Champions crowned are ON SALE NOW. For more information, visit THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

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