The Gramkow family has been making the five-hour trek from Avon, S.D. to Kansas Speedway regularly for 10 years now.
This trip, though, will be hard to top.
Tina Gramkow and her 10-year-old son Dalton walked past the NASCAR Acceleration Nation booth on Friday and were randomly selected to ride in the pace car at the beginning of Saturday’s SpongeBob SquarePants.
“That’s the one he wanted to do,” Tina said. It’s an awesome feeling.”
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That was the finale to their pre-race experience. Tina, Dalton, and husband Lenny got to hangout backstage during the pre-race driver introductions.
Dalton picked up autographs from Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick, among others. Tina got to go onstage and present Joey Logano with a trophy for winning the pole.
“This is the best Mother’s Day ever!” Tina gushed as she came off the stage.
The family then walked to the pace car. Tina and Dalton walked side-by-side, with Lenny a few steps behind capturing the moment on his cell phone camera.
Tina and Dalton got into the back of a Toyota Camry and got to ride a couple of laps around the Kansas Speedway track at 55 miles per hour.
“It was great. It was freaky going up and down (the bank),” Tina said.
The family went to the Daytona 500 in February, and Dalton got the opportunity to ride in a NASCAR car at Daytona International Speedway.
The pace car on Saturday went considerably slower, but Dalton didn’t mind.
“I liked leading everyone around the track,” Dalton said with a smile. “You get to see the real NASCAR drivers.”