MK Memories: A whirlwind media tour with MK
The Matt Kenseth Fan Club (MKFC) turns 20 this year and to celebrate the best fans in motorsports, mattkenseth.com will feature a selection of fan stories periodically throughout the year. If you're a card-carrying MKFC member and would like to submit your story along with a photo for consideration, please email MKFC@mattkenseth.com.
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From Jessica Smith, long-time Matt Kenseth PR representative:
It’s really difficult to come up with one favorite memory of my time working with Matt because in the five years that I’ve served as his PR rep, I’ve gotten to see and do a lot of cool things, thanks to this sport.
I think one of my favorite adventures I’ve had was when MK won the 2012 Daytona 500 and the whirlwind week that took place afterwards. Granted, that was the race where Juan Pablo (Montoya) ran into the jet dryer, so poor MK had to recount that fireball too many times during his media tour, but what a week.
We didn’t finish in Victory Lane that night until 3:30 a.m. with all our media obligations, and since no one really ever packs what NASCAR asks you to in case you win, I had NO clean clothes for a week on the road.
The race had already been rained out to Monday so everyone was making the best of what they had left. MK didn’t even have a suitcase to travel with that week and we ended up borrowing one from the NASCAR girl who traveled with us… broken zippers and all! I ended up buying a coat on Hollywood Boulevard and that was the first time I saw all the famous stars, just as I was darting into Forever 21 to quickly grab any functional jacket! Hilarious!
That opening stint of the media tour was a blur, but Matt, myself, Ashley from NASCAR PR, and Mike from NASCAR Security kept plugging away running on adrenaline in order to stay awake. I think that we were all up for about 34 hours straight and I will never forget how loopy we all were from exhaustion after we wrapped our appearance at the Dallas Mavericks game. You could have told us that the sky was green and we all would have started laughing hysterically because everything is hilarious on no sleep I learned.
We all piled into the plane to head to Hollywood that night for the Tonight Show taping the next day and all four of us immediately fell asleep for the first time that week. Meeting Jay Leno and being on the Tonight show set was a dream come true. What an icon and it was cool to say that we had been there! The fact that Jay invited Matt to do the opening monologue is an honor that only a handful of people have ever done.
While our schedule is grueling for at least 40 weeks out of the year, I’ve learned that you have to enjoy the trip along the way. Working with MK and all of the tremendous members of #KensethNation truly keeps us going.
Thank you all for supporting the best driver in the garage (I’m sure some would say I’m biased) and I’ll always try to give you the behind-the-scenes access that I’m hoping you enjoy seeing as much as we enjoy being able to share along the way.
Follow Jessica on Twitter at @JessicaLSmith20
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