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NASCAR Speeds Into Downtown Chicago

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Photo by Ben Roth

One of America’s greatest sport towns just found a new, higher-octane passion — NASCAR, when MKTG INC helped bring Chase Grid Live to downtown Chicago.

The two-day fan fest gave NASCAR the perfect chance to flex its muscle as the 16 top drivers prepare for the last 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Chase Grid Live featured stock-car displays, live broadcasts from ESPN and SiriusXM, sponsorship areas with partners like Toyota, Sprint and MARS, and, of course, some good old Chicago pizza and burgers provided by some of the city’s most popular food trucks. All the while DJ Johnny Walker kept the energy up as NASCAR footage looped on the giant SprintVision screen next to the stage.

Photo by Ben Roth

After battling a bit of rain on the first day, the clouds parted and the crowds appeared for a live concert from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, presented by NASCAR’s sponsor, Toyota. It was the perfect opportunity for NASCAR to put their brand in front of a younger audience.

The second day was nonstop, with crowds showing up early to get autographs from NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace and see onstage interviews with up-and-coming NASCAR drivers. But the main event occurred as the 16 NASCAR Challengers pulled up to the event on the top of a double decker bus that had just paraded them down Michigan Avenue. Their Driver Nations went wild as they weaved through the crowd to board the stage. ESPN’s Jamie Little then hosted a Q&A with the drivers that caught them at their most personable and, frankly, comedic. There were lots of great insights into the upcoming races but the biggest crowd reaction probably came as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and the other top five drivers began goading fellow driver, Brad Keselowski, about his upcoming wedding. It was one of those great moments that makes you feel like you’re watching a bunch of friends having fun instead of a dull and staid press event. Keselowski went on to win the race, so the teasing may have fueled his fire!

Photo by Ben Roth

All in all, it was an amazing event in the eyes of both the fans and NASCAR.

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Cell phones are generally seen as “can’t-live-without” items these days, and the urge to answer an incoming text or phone call, even when you’re driving, can be hard to ignore. That being said, it’s no secret that using your phone while behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous, and doing so can cause an accident.

In an effort to promote safe driving, Sprint has unveiled the new “Drive First” App, which has multiple features designed to help drivers keep their eyes on the road, not on there phones.

The app uses motion sensor technology to detect when the car is in drive and automatically responds to incoming texts with away messages (which you’re familiar with from your instant messenger days, right, CuPidXoXo99?). It also sends calls directly to voicemail.

And for all you concerned parents out there, if your son and/or daughter tries to disable the app, Sprint will send an instant notification to your phone (just don’t check it while you’re driving), and you’ll have every right to take back those car keys.

I don’t know about you, but I feel safer already.

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Written by Andrew Canlon
Andrew Canlon

March 29th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Experience

Tagged with , ,