So if we went back into a time machine to this date 10 years ago, things would be a lot different. Gas would be about $1.35 a gallon. We were all jamming as Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink rocked the dial with Lady Marmalade. And I hated NASCAR.
So what changed in 10 years for me? You can blame Tony Stewart. I met him at a media event held by the Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2002. It was my first encounter with a NASCAR driver. And up until then, my views on the sport had been shaped by "Days of Thunder," old videos of people waving confederate flags outside the track and Sports Center video of Dale Earnhardt, Senior. Overwhelming for a black girl from the midwest, and it left me filled with preconceived notions of the sport.
But then I met Stewart. He was none of the things that I thought I knew about the sport, except one thing. He could drive. When I finally broke down and started going to races, I quickly learned that the sport was full of people like Stewart, and less like what imagined it was in my head. And I fell in love. And the rest is history.