Ranking life's bittersweet days, this one, my final day at NASCAR, easily shoots to #1 with a bullet.
After eight-plus seasons helping to tell the NASCAR story, I've accepted a great opportunity as VP, Strategic Communications for IMG College.
As you may know, college sports are booming – with radiological meltdown to the left of us, wars to the right, our President even found time to fill out his Brackets. This is a chance to take a leadership role with a fast-growing organization transforming the business of college sports. Being Italian, I fully respect an offer not to be refused.
I'm about as excited as one can get nowadays without the authorities being alerted and the building sealed off.
It's not easy to leave NASCAR, especially amid a thrilling season that has 'em cheering in the press boxes. I genuinely love our sport (jeez, their sport in a few hours); heck, I slept with the fans in their converted school buses and wrote a book about it!
From my first race in 2003 at Talladega (hallelujuah, can it be scripted any better), I've smoked the proverbial exhaust and savored every hit. I am blessed to have been surrounded by extraordinary people who may have talked a bit funny to this New Yorker (and me to them as well) but who leave a mark nonetheless.
NASCAR was not a Dickensian gig: It was the best of times, it was the best of times.
There is no breed quite like NASCAR fans. Show me another place on earth with as many empty beer bottles and as few fights as a NASCAR race.
One fan contributing to that heap of empties -- now recycled at an impressive rate, mind you -- calls me "Lucky Dog." The source of my good fortune is the mere fact I work for NASCAR.
He's right about the nickname. Everyone who works in this industry owns it, too, contributing to a continually unfolding great American entreprenerial success story that happens to bring joy to millions.
I will always treasure my Lucky Dog status. My enthusiasm for the sport won't ever wane. I will continue to root for the courageous drivers and hard-working people who bring this immensely enjoyable traveling circus to millions every week for 10-month stretch.
In the meantime, to those partners, colleagues, and media members who have heard this news and have written or called to playfully declare that I am a "jerk," "ass", "peckerhead" or various other body parts that shall go unmentioned, thank you, I am flattered. I will miss you, too. I sincerely hope we can stay in touch, particularly if you owe me money.
As of April 25, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish each of you, and everyone involved in this wonderful sport, and those who watch, good health and continued success.
As the great Warren Zevon said, Enjoy every sandwich.
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